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Why jadge ye not, even of yourselves, what is right?— ^ Jesus' Chbi^^ 









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, hy 


Ja the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusettft 

stereotyped by 







I am induced to dedicate this work to you, because its subject is one in 
which you all haye a deep and common interest. You will doubtless observe 
that I do not address you as a controversialist, aiming to promote the in- 
terests of any existing theological party, but simply as a Christian brother, 
endeavoring to remove the causes of paralysis and division from our 
common Christianity, and thus to promote the interests of the church 
as a whole. I think also that you will not deny that the issue which 
I present to you is of sufficient magnitude to deserve and demand your 
candid and dkrefal consideration. The great conflict of which I speak 
is, on the whole, the most prominent and important fact in the history of 
the church. So great a fact must have an adequate cause. Moreover, 
a cause powerful enough to produce, for so many centu.ries, such stu- 
pendous results, must also be powerful enough seriously to affect the 
adaptation of Christianity, as a system, to accomplish all that is in- 
volved in the great work of the conversion of the world. It is not enough 
that the existing system can do some good, or even much good ; we need 
a system that shall give us the power intelligently to meet and logically 
to solve all of the great religious and social problems which we are called 
on to encounter in the great work of converting the world, and thoroughly 
i-eorganizing human society ; for this work is not to be done, even in 
l):irt, by infidel philosophy, but solely by the gospel of Christ, in its 
purity and power, as applied to all the relations of human society. 

Animated by these considerations, I have endeavored to point out, as 
the cause of the conflict, an element foreign to the system, and which 
creates constant and powerful tendencies to pernicious errors in philoso- 
phy and in doctrine, divides the church, depresses the tone of piety, and 
thus paralyzes the energies of Christianity, and unfits it to accomplish the 
great enterprise which it has undertaken. 


Whatever, my Christian brethren, may be your ultimate couclusions 
concerning the truth of my views, I cannot but believe that every intelli- 
gent man will concede that they involve interests so great as to merit a 
thorough and prayerful consideration. 

From this I do not shrink, — nay, I earnestly desire it. My piniyer is. 
Let God guide his church into all truth, and let the truth prevail. I feel 
that such, too, are the momentous relations of the subject that He cannot 
be indifferent to it ; and that if we seek his guidance in true humility, 
and free from the power of previous committals, it will be freely given. 
The most profound inquiry, conducted under his gviidance, I do not fear. 
I fear nothing but a partisan spirit and sinful excitement, and those 
narrow and local views to which they give rise. 

But so great is the power and the grace of our God and Saviour, Jesus 
Christ, that I look for better things in you, and things that accompany 
salvation. God is giving increasing enlargement of views, fraternal affec- 
tion, and Christian dignity, to the leading minds of his church in the 
various Christian denominations. Moreover, I think with great and con- 
stantly increasing pleasure of that widely-extended circle of sanctified 
and highly-educated minds, in every Christian body, whom it is my privi- 
lege and honor to call my beloved brethren in Christ. I rejoice in the 
thought of their intellectual and moral power and ample resources, 
and of the cheering fact that they are all consecrated to the service of our 
common Lord and Saviour. I rejoice still more in the assurance that we 
are in daily communion with one common God and Father, who is over 
all, and in all, and through all ; and that nothing is too much for us 
mutually to ask for each other, and to expect to receive through his grace, 
and the mighty working in us of the power of the divine and sacred Spirit. 

May He, therefore, guide you into all the truth, till the light of the 
moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be 
seven-fold, as the light of seven days ; till the watchmen shall see eye to 
eye, and together lift up the voice and sing, when the Lord shall turn 
back the captivity of his people, and cause all the nations of the earth to 
rejoice in his salvation ! 

Yours, in Christian affection, 


Boston, August 27, 1858, 


INTRODUCTION. —Nature of the conflict. End and compass of 
the work, 1 — 8 



CHAPTER I. — The Case Stated. — The steam-ship. The question 
to be discussed, Is there a misadjustment of the moving powers of 
Christianity, resulting in an inevitable logical conflict ? . . . . 9 — 10 

CHAPTER n.— Presumptive Arguihext. — Conflict of Old School 
and New School divines. Great evils of the conflict. Exist- 
ence of the same conflict in substance for fifteen centuries, . . . 11 — 15 

CHAPTER HI. — The Movixg Powers op Ciiristiaxity. — The 
powers essential to the practical working of the system. The 
principles of honor and of right. A full statement of the fallen 
and ruined condition of man, 16 — 18 

CHAPTER IV. — The Prixciples of Hoxoraxd of Right. — The 
origin of these principles. How developed. Opinions of philos- 
ophers. Testimony of Scripture. Expositions of Dr. Hodge, 
Prof Stuart, Dr. Chalmers, Tholuck, Melancthon and Calvin. 
The supreme importance and authority of these principles. 
Questions to be tested by them, 19 — 30 

CHAPTER V. — Statemext OF Moral Principles. — The obliga- 
tions of great and powerful minds to inferior and feeble miuds. 
Application to God. Obligations of God — as to the standard of 
responsibility ; as to the maintenance of the principles of jus- 
tice in imputation and retribution ; as to the original consti- 
tutions and circumstances of his creatures. Support of these 
principles from Scripture and from Christian experience, . . . 81 — 41 

CHAPTER VI. — Orthodox Authorities. — How far the princi- 
ples above stated have been recognized by the church. Testimony 
of Turretiu, of the Princeton divines, of Dr. Watts, ^f J. Wesley, 
of the Westminster divines. Supreme importance of these prin- 
ciples, 42—50 

CHAPTER VII. — Facts as to Human Depravity. — The second 
moving power is a thorough view of luiman depravity and ruin. 
Certain I'acts are obvious Statement of tliem by Unitarian 


divines — Dr. Burnap, Pres Sparks, Prof. Norton, Dr. Dewey. 

Their theory. Need of a deeper view virtually conceded, . . 61 — 60 

CHAPTER Vm.— Radical View of the Ruin of Man.— 
Necessity of depth and thoroughness. Points involved in a 
full view. Statements of Calvin. Synod of Dort. Confession 
of Helvetia. Confession of the TValdenses. French Confes- 
sion. The Church of England. Confession of Belgia. Con- 
fession of Augsburg. Moravian confession. The Westaiinster 
divines. Exposition and remarks, 61 — 71 

CHAPTER IX. — Social and Organic Relations of Man. — 
Corrupting power of sinful family relations, and of depraved 
social and political organizations. Views of Dr. Burnap, . . 72 — 75 

CHAPTER X. — Relations of Man to Invisible Enemies. — 
A kingdom of fallen spirits revealed. Their power and wiles. 
Exposure of man to their influence, 76 — 78 

CHAPTER XI. — The Conflict a Reality. — Each moving 
power is real, true, and well-sustained. Yet, as now adjusted, 
they are in direct conflict. Proof of this assertion, 79 — 82 



CHAPTER I. — Laws of Thought and Emotion under the Sys- 
tem. — Nature and design of Christianity. Interests involved. 
Depth of emotions excited. Tendencies to division and con- 
flict, 83—85 

CHAPTER II. — Experiences Characterized. — Caused by the 
predominance, in different minds, of contending parts of the 
system. Resulting in reactions. Six enumerated, 86 — 88 

CHAPTER in. — First Experience ; or, the Philosophy of 
Old School Theology. — Its basis a belief of a depraved 
nature before action. Its origin a deep Christian experience. 
Illustrated by the case of Edwards. Scriptural testimony. 
Public formularies. Sources of its power, 89 — 97 

CHAPTER IV.— The Reaction. — Not the result of carnal 
reason, but of the divine principles of equity and honor. 
These principles not denied. Effort to avert the conflict. A 
most remarkable position. Immeasurable interests involved. 
A failure, 98—101 

CHAPTER V. — The Reaction irresistible, as the System 
NOW is. — Virtual confession of Dr. Woods. Improper mode 
of representing the principles of honor and right. Attempt 
at defence by Dr. Hodge. His virtual confession. Course of 
ibelard, Pascal and others. Course of Dr. Chalmers. They 
improperly repudiate the application of the principles of equity 
and honor, as unauthorized rationalizing. In so doing they 
ar^ at war with the word of God, 102 — 115 


CHAPTER VI. — Second Experience ; on, the Philosophy op 
Unitariajj Theology. — An entire recoil from the Old School 
theology. Its result is the rejection of radical views of human 
depravity. Its strength is in the principles of equity and 
honor. Early development of the system in New England. 
Case of John Adams, of Story, and of Channing. They 
argued logically from the true principles of honor and right. 
Extracts from Dr. Channing. He vindicates these principles. 
Inadequate replies. Power of the system, 116 — 130 

CHAPTER Vn. — The Reaction. Testimony of Dr. Channing 
AND others. Obvious Facts. — Christian experience and 
Scripture react. Disappointment of the anticipations of Dr. 
Channing. Reasons. His altered views of Unitarianism. 
The increasing power of Christian experience and the word of 
God decide the question, 131 — 140 

CHAPTER \^^. — Degradation of Free Agency itself. — 
Original righteousness rejected. Position of Dr. Ware, Dr. 
Dewey, and Dr. Burnap. Hegelian theory, 141 — 146 

CHAPTER IX. — Third Experience ; or, the Philosophy of 
Orthodox Universalism. — Both moving powers retained. 
Relief sought in Universalism. Case of John Foster. His 
character, views and course. Extent of his influence, . . . .147 — 155 

CHAPTER X.— The Re.a.ction. — Influence of the Bible and 
of a Christian experience. The nature of cruelty, the neces- 
sity of regeneration, and the causes of future misery. The 
tendency of moral causes, 156 — 159 

CHAPTER XL — The Fourth Experience; or, the Philos- 
ophy OF New School Theology. — Both moving powers are 
retained, but the lacts are modified by the principles. Its 
origin from holy men, for practical ends. Influence of Ed- 
wards and Fuller. Peculiarities of this theology. Appeal to 
the principles of honor and right. Controversy with the old 
theology. Extracts from Whelpley. Power of the system in 
revivals. Its auspicious general influences, 160 — 167 

CHAPTER Xn. — The Reaction. — Causes of a reaction are 
found in the consequences of denying a sinful nature before 
action. Either sin is caused by divine efficiency, as held by 
Dr. Emmons, or by an innocent though deteriorated nature 
and circumstances. Charge of a superficial view of depravity. 
Alarm of Dr. Nettleton and others. Charge that the conflict 
with the principles of honor and right is net averted. Argu- 
ments of Dr. Hodge. Princeton divines. Dr. Woods. De- 
gradation of free agency results in some cases, 168 — 183 

CHAPTER XIII. — The Fifth Experience ; or, the Eclipse 
OF THE Glory of God. — Cause of this experience, a full 
perception of the conflict, without relief. Tendencies to it in 
John Foster. Its full development. Its succession by the 
sixth experience. A full account of this experience deferred 
till the reconciliation lias been pi'esented, 184 — 101 




CHAPTER I. — The Problem Proposed. — The suggestion of a 
possible mode of reconciliation. The great importance even of 
this. Incidental evidence involved, 192 — 195 

CHAPTER II. — Method of Procedure. — Two supposable 
modes of solution. The adoption of the second, 196 — 198 

CHAPTER III. — State of the Humajj Mind, and Conditions 
OF THE Problem. — Power of illogical influences. Character 
of the persons addressed, 199 — 202 

CHAPTER IV. — The Essentials of Harmony. — Retention of 
all the facts of the system. Full scope for Christian emotions 
and experience. The presentation of a perfect character of 
God, 203—210 

CHAPTER V. — The Misadjustment. — Great power of a small 
misadjustment. The misadjustment stated. Its extensive and 
injurious influence. It is a mei-e assumption, 211 — 220 

CHAPTER VI. — The Readjustment. — It retains all the facts. 
It concedes all the principles. It harmonizes the combatants. 
Causes of the rejection of this view, 221 — 226 

CHAPTER Vn. — The System as Adjusted. — It gives a rad- 
ical \[(iw of human depravity, and averts Pelagian tendencies. 
It averts the degradation of free agency. It vindicates the 
measures of God. It elevates our conceptions of new-created 
minds. It gives a rational view of the kingdom of fallen 
spirits, 227—238 

CHAPTER VLH. — The Kingdom of Fallen Spirits, — Import- 
ance of this part of the general system. Eiiects of the read- 
justment. The number of fallen beings not increased, but 
diminished, by the system of this world. Relations to the 
antiquity of the eartli. Statements from Dr. Hitchcock ; J. 
P. Smith ; Babbage. Elevated point of vision, 234 — 241 

CHAPTER IX. — Brief Summary of the Y^^hole Case.— 
Original state of all new-created beings. The entrance of evil. 
The course of events. The final results, 242 — 245 

CH.iPTER X. — A Presumption Rebutted. — It is alleged that 
this view has been considered and found insufflcient. The 
allegation denied. The case stated. Illustration from the 
course of opinon with reference to the Copernican system. 
Extract from Whewell, 246—252 



!!HAPTER I. — General Outline. — Importance and design of 
the discussions of other ages. Importance of a full history of 
this conflict. Sources of it. Outline of llie fipl<l, 2.53—258 


CHAPTER n. — The Point of Vision. — Intellectual power and 
greatness of Augustine. Relations of present discussions to 
him. Views of Prof. Sliedd, E. H. Sears, and others, concern 
ing him. He is the point of vision, 259 — 264 

CHAPTER HI. — Theological Speculations before Augus- 
tine. — State of things immediately after the apostles. Char- 
acter of the first assaults on Christianity. The principles of 
honor and right become predominant. Tendencies to super- 
ficial views of depravity resulted. Theology of the Greek 
Church. Pelagius logically carried out existing tendencies to 
dangci'ous i-esults, 265—277 

CHAPTER TV. — The Mountain-top ; or, Augustine and his 
Experience. — The necessity of a reaction. Augustine the 
providential agent. Not a mere logician. His depth of feeling 
and Christian experience. Not a mystic in a bad sense, . . . 278 — 288 

CHAPTER V. — Augustine's Principles of Equity and Honor. 

— His elevated views of new-created minds. His high de- 
mands in their behalf The extensive influence of these views 
in subsequent ages. His deep views of depravity. The inev- 
itable conflict, 289—296 

CHAPTER VI. — Augustine's Theory of Reconciliation. — 
A forfeiture of rights before birth. A kind of preexistence. 
Real preexistence rejected. His theory was, that all men ex- 
isted and acted in Adam in a common nature, 297 — 301 

CHAPTER VII. — Response of the Huivian Mind to the The- 
ory OF Augustine. — The fact of a forfeiture generally 
accepted. His solution ultimately and generally rejected. 
Various other contradictory solutions. The problem absurd 
and impossible, without real preexistence, 302 — 307 

CHx\PTER Vin. — Different Modes of Solution Considered. 

— Augustine's solution rejected by the Princeton divines. 
Two forms of the theory of federal headship. Prof. Shedd 
resorts to a real self-determined choice or governing purpose 
before consciousness, and in Adam. Theory of Edwards is the 
personal identity of all men with Adam. Views of Haldane. 
Exposition of Augustine by Odo of Tournay, and Ansehu, . . 308 — 323 

CHAPTER IX. — Disquiet of the Human Mind. — The ortho- 
dox principles of equity and honor very elevated. The pres- 
ent state of man conceded to be indefensible, except on the 
ground of a forfeiture of rights. All solutions of the problem 
of forfeiture unsatisfactory. Final result, the idea of forfeiture 
rejected. In this no relief is found, 324 — 331 

CHAPTER X. — First Result of Denying a Forfeiture be- 
fore Birth. — Pelagianism the direct and logical result. Its 
first development. Its reappearance in various subsequent 
ages. Degradation of free agency its result. Elevation 
and truth of the principles which led to these inauspicious 
results. Julian of Eclanum, Dr. Channing, Whelpley, and 
J. Taylor, alike contend for these principles, and so far are 
correct and unanswerable, 332 — 339 

CHAPTER XT. — SKfoxD Rksult of Denying a Forfeiture 


BEFORE Birth. — Resolution of human depravity through 
Adam into divine sovereignty. Cause of this modification of 
orthodoxy. Its chief development in New England. Hopkins 
leads the way. The younger Edwards, Dwiglit, Emmons, and 
the modern New England divines, follow. It does not give the 
desired relief. Views of Dr. Watts. Of the Old School divines. 
Of Unitarians, 340—348 

CHAPTER Xn. — Other Ineffectual Efforts for Relief. — 
Course adopted by the Semipelagians and the Roman Cath- 
olic Church. Course pursued by Arminius. Wesley and the 
Methodist divines. The theory of a forfeiture before bu'th is 
still the basis of their systems, and is not properly solved or 
defended. Calviuists, Lutlierans, Arminians and Romanists, 
here stand on common ground, 349 — 355 

CHAPTER Xin. — Estimate of the Conflict — It has sprung 
from the honorable feelings of man, and the experience of 
Christians of deep piety ; and yet has either given superficial 
views of human depravity, or else obscured the glory of God. 
The present state of things. Prospects of the future, . . . 356 — 362 



CHAPTER I. — The Mode of Proceeding. — Question at issue, 
the truth of preexistence. Proof of the validity of arguments 
from the facts of the system. The necessity of first consider- 
ing the alleged testimony of the Bible. Basis of the common 
doctrine, Rom. 5 : 12—19, 363—367 

CHAPTER II, — General View of the various Interpreta- 
tions of Rom, 5 : 12 — 19. — Vast and extended influence of 
the passage. Fundamental idea of the common interpretation. 
Various theories of the fall in Adam. No exposition of uni- 
versal authority, 368 — 373 

CHAPTER m.— True Interpretation of Rom, 5 : 12—19.— 
The sense of the passage is judicial, as the Old School divines 
contend. The deatli spoken of is natural death, as the primi- 
tive church contended. The sequence is merely typical, and 
not causative. Explanation of this statement, 374 — 379 

CHAPTER IV, — Use of Language in describing Sequences 
of Apparent Causation. — They are denoted by the same 
forms of speech which are used to denote real causation. This 
mode of si^eech natural and univei'sal. Case of miracles. Ex- 
tract from Dr. Smalley, Use of illustrative comparisons, . .379 — 38'^ 

CHAPTER V, — Use of Language in describing Apparent 
Causation in Types, — Explanation of sequences merely typ- 
ical. Law of language, as before stated. Cases. The sprink- 
ling of the blood of tlie paschal lamb. Atonement by sacrifices. 


Atonement by burning incense. Healing by the brazen ser- 
pent. Review of positions, 384 — 392 

CHAPTER M!, — AppLICATIO^^ of the Preceding Principles 
To Rom. 5 : 12 — 19. — The judicial sense is authorized by 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, Storr, Bloomfield, Knapp 
and others. Tholuck and Stuart concede that the words ■will 
admit of it. According to the preceding argument, the sequence 
is merely typical. The death is merely natural. Hlustration 
of the type. Results, 393—398 

CHAPTER Vn. — Appeal to Authorities. — The judicial 
sense excludes the New School interpretation. Argument of 
Prof. Hodge and others in favor of that sense. Result, it is not 
asserted in the word of God that the sinfulness of man was 
caused by the sin of Adam. Virtual coincidence on this point 
of Dr. Hodge and Dr. Emmons, 399 — 410 

CHAPTER Vm.— Import op the Word Death, in Rom. 5: 
12 — 19. — Its import is natural death. Argument. Author- 
ity of the Greek Church. Internal evidence. The facts of 
the Old Testament. Argument from the antithesis refuted. 
The sequence is merely typical, whether we adopt the judicial 
sense, or that of the New School divines, 411 — 418 

CHAPTER IX. — Additional Evidence. — Analogy of the 
early types with which this is connected. Appropriateness 
and sublimity of the view. Root of the common errors. Genius 
and spirit of Paul demand this view. ISIoral arguments irre- 
sistible, 419-423 

CHAPTER X. — Case of IVIelcbisedek. — A striking illustra- 
tion of the laws of typical interpretation involved in this argu- 
ment. Paul speaks according to the appearance of things, 
and not according to the reality. Yet he uses the language 
of reality. Authority of Calvin, Barnes, Stuart, Bloomfield 
and others. True theory of typical language. Power of Rom. 
5 : 12—19, thus viewed, 424—429 

CHAPTER XI. — The Completion op the Picture. — Decline 
and revival of typical interpretation. The habits of Paul's 
mind. The sentence of death. The case of Adam. That of 
his posterity. The antitype. Objections refuted. Paraphrase 
of the passage. Analogous typical comparisons, 430 — 438 

CHAPTER Xn. — The Argument Reinforced. — General rule. 
The type is in the natural sphere; the antitype, in the spiritual. 
Appeal to Scripture. Rule of Fairbairn. To violate this rule 
overloads the type, and destroys the truth of the comparison. 
It also violates all our ideas of justice, and causes a reaction. 
The final result, and appea , 439 — 447 

CHAPTER Xni. — Survey'op the Ge.vbral Arqujient. — The 
deepest foundations of our religious belief. Principles applied 
to the being of a God ; the evidences of revelation ; the New- 
tonian system. The same mode of reasoning proves preexist- 
ence. Illustration in a single line of reasoning. Auxiliary 
arguments from the failure of all the common theories, and the 
inadequacy of the cause assigned for effects. Sufficiency of 


preexistence illustrated by the statements of the Princeton 

divines and Prof. Stuart, Arguments of Julius Miiller, . . 448 — 472 

CHAPTER XIV. — The Origin of Evil. — Allegation of Dr. 
Woods against preexistence, that it merely shifts the difficulty, 
but does not remove it. Reply. Further allegation that God 
has the entire control of all the feelings and acts of his crea- 
tures. Reply — a temporary limitation of control is implied in 
the greatness of God and his system, and the limited nature of 
created minds. This view honors God, and accords with the 
Bible. It explains the origin of evil, the need of development, 
and the origin of the present system. Dr. Woods is obliged to 
concede the principle, and does so in fact. The revealed char- 
acter of God proves it, 473 — 488 

CHAPTER XV. — Argument from the System. — Outline ot 
the argument. Preexistence unites in a sublime system the 
great scriptural facts, and harmonizes the action of all thb 
parts. Facts to be united. The common theories fail. A 
true system of the universe much needed. Essentials of such 
a system. Common views of the church. A more full view 
essential. Statement of her real place in the system. Her 
work. Her worth to God and to the xiniverse. Future in- 
crease of the universe. Analogy of Marriage. Hypothesis 
of Bellamy. View of PoUok and of Chalmers. Inadequacy 
of all other systems. Point of the argument. Discrimina- 
tions, 489—616 

CHAPTER XVI. — The Material System. — Importance ot 
its relations to doctrine and practice. Errors caused by false 
views of it. Preexistence eradicates them. Tendency of the 
common doctrine to Gnosticism, BII^^-^^m 

CHAPTER XVn. — Results and Practical Tendencies. — 
1. To rescue Christianity from its present perilous position, 
and to restore to it its legitimate power. 2. To give dignity 
and elevation to the argument, and certainty to the conclu- 
sions derived. 3. To expose the verbal and superficial nature 
of alleged scriptural objections. 4. To produce sympathy 
with the whole spirit of the Bible. 5. To relieve difficulties, 
and introduce sympathy and mutual confidence into future 
discussions. 6. To avert Pelagianism, and to produce a 
deeper Christian experience. Favorable omens in the work 
of E. H. Sears, and in the recent rejection of Pelagianism by 
Unitarians. Dissent from some of his views. General con- 
cessions as to the good tendencies of the doctrine of preex- 
'stence. Origin of the present state of things from ancient 
ecclesiastical Gnosticism. 7. Beneficial effects of the doctrine 
of preexistence wiU. disclose themselves in aU departments of 
life, 523—552 



Of the heroes and the conflicts of war I do not propose 
to speak. It were, indeed, a more exciting theme. The 
vivid delineation of floating banners, flowing plumes, gor- 
geous apparel, glittering armor, and the stately march of 
embattled squadrons, agreeably stimulates and excites the 
imagination. The fierce onset of contending hosts, and the 
unutterable horrors of the conflict, arouse the deepest 
emotions of the soul. 

A narrative of the conflicts of minds has not these advan- 
tages for popular effect. Such conflicts do not appeal to the 
senses, nor stimulate the imagination ; nor is it easy to 
create, with respect to them, a popular excitement which 
shall be powerful and all-pervading. Nevertheless, all 
intelligent and thoughtful minds feel in them an interest 
deep and lasting, even though it be less exciting than that 
which is felt, for a time, in the conflicts of war. 

Moreover, if in such intellectual conflicts the deep and 
honorable emotions of the heart can be unveiled, the interest 
rises, and often becomes intense. 

The conflict of which I propose to write is, and ever 
has been, in its deepest recesses, a conflict of the heart. 
Not that gigantic intellectual efibrts have not been abun- 


dantlj put forth, but that the deepest and most powerful 
impulses have ever been those of the heart. 

It has, indeed, often assumed a repulsive external aspect. 
In the huge volumes of the fathers, or of the scholastic 
divines, it has been presented in forms wearisome, and 
devoid of the decorations of rhetoric and the refinements 
of taste. In modern times, too, the technics of theology 
have sometimes rendered it mysterious and repulsive. 

Yet beneath all this there has always rolled a deeper 
tide of pure and honorable emotion than has ever flowed 
from the heart of man on any other theme ; moreover, the 
intellectual aspects of the conflict, viewed from a proper 
point of vision, have ever been majestic and sublime. 

The subject of this conflict has been the greatest and 
most affecting that can interest or excite the human mind. 
It has been no less a theme than THE moral renova- 
tion OF MAN. Through a long course of centuries, the 
Christian world has been divided into opposing parties on 
this great question. 

On the one side have been the advocates of that system 
the peculiar characteristic of which is the doctrine of a 
supernatural regeneration rendered necessary by the native 
and original depravity of man, and effected according to the 
eternal purposes of a divine and mysterious sovereignty. 

This system has always been exegetically developed from 
the epistle of Paul to the Romans, as its centre and 
strength. At the same time, however, all other parts of 
the word of God are appealed to in its support. Augustine 
in ancient, and Calvin in modern times, have been preemi- 
nent in its development and defence. It has accordingly 
been called sometimes Pauline, at others Augustinian, and 
at others Calvinistic theology. It was substantially the 
theology of the Reformers, and of the Puritans. By the 


confession of all, it has exerted great power on the destinies 
of the world. Of its ablest opponents, some have honor- 
ably conceded that it has always elevated the tone of morals 
where it has prevailed. A leading historian of this age 
also concedes that it has led the van in the conflict for 
popular liberty. " For a century and a half," says Ban- 
croft, " it assumed the guardianship of liberty for the 
English world." " In Geneva, in Scotland, wherever it 
gained dominion, it invoked intelligence for the people, and 
in every parish planted the common school." 

Yet, in all ages, ever since the days of Celestius, Julian 
and Pelagius, there have been, in large numbers, men 
highly estimable for intelligence and benevolence, and 
animated by a strong desire of urging society onward in 
the pursuit of moral excellence, who have, nevertheless, 
earnestly, perseveringly and with deep emotion, opposed 
this system, as at war with the fundamental principles of 
honor and right, and hostile to the best interests of human- 
ity. In the wide interval between these extremes, other in- 
termediate parties have arisen, attempting in various modes, 
but hitherto without success, to reconcile the combatants, 
or in any other way to terminate the conflict. Indeed, 
these intervening parties have often contended violently 
among themselves, as well as with each of the extreme 
parties. The long duration and the astonishing vigor of 
this conflict indicate that it is not without some permanent 
and powerful cause. I propose, if possible, to discover that 
caiise, and to state a mode in which all true Christians can, 
without any sacrifice of principle, be at harmony among 
themselves. I shall, in doing this, attempt to redeem the 
first-named system from a just liability to such attacks as 
it has sustained, by showing that all of its fundamental 


elements may be so stated and held as not to be inconsist* 
ent with the highest principles of honor and right. 

I propose at the same time to do full justice to the 
motives and principles of those who in different ages have 
opposed it, as has been stated. So far as their principles of 
honor and right have been correct, it is my purpose to vin- 
dicate and defend them ; at the same time, endeavoring to 
explain how it has happened that they have been brought 
into conflict with the system which they oppose. I shall 
endeavor to point out a needless misadjustment of the parts 
of the system, by which these principles have been brought 
into collision with the fundamental facts on which it is 

To effect these purposes, it will become necessary to give 
a compendious view of the various efforts of the human 
mind, in different ages, to remove this antagonism. Such a 
view, properly given, will exhibit the deep interior emotions, 
as well as the logical and philosophical reasons, of that great 
controversy on this subject which has so long existed, and 
show the relations of its various parts to each other. 

I earnestly desire, if possible, so to effect this as to 
remove the acerbities of feeling which have been caused by 
the controversies of the present or of past ages on this sub- 
ject. The merely logical encounters of powerfully developed 
intellectual systems tend rather to irritation and alienation 
than to sympathy and confidence. Nevertheless, beneath 
every benevolent man's intellectual efforts on this subject 
there has been a deeply affecting personal experience, which, 
if known, would show, in a manner adapted to awaken deep 
sympathy, why he has reasoned as he has. Indeed, there 
is a great heart, not only of natural honor, but, still more, 
of sanctified humanity, which, from beginning to end, under- 
lies this momentous controversy, the deep workings of 


which must be developed and appreciated, before the contro- 
versy can be properly understood. No honorable mind can 
see these workings uncovered, and not be touched with deep 
emotion in viewing the struggles of our common humanity, 
in endeavoring to resolve the deepest and most momentous 
problems of the present trying and mysterious system. 
This experience I aim to unfold, and thus, if I may, to 
create on all sides a feeling of sympathy and mutual 
interest, by pointing out those benevolent and honorable 
impulses, and that regard to truth, — mixed, it may be, with 
other motives, — by which the various parties have been 
actuated, and to produce a candid and united effort to elimi- 
nate error, and to develop the whole truth. 

I am no less anxious to do what I can to save the minds 
of future inquirers from those painful and exhausting con- 
flicts to which such multitudes have been exposed in ages 
past, by developing the entire range of the controversy, and 
sketching the outlines of the whole subject, and thus show- 
ing that from the greatest difficulties there is always a 
possible relief I aim, moreover, to evince that, in order to 
a firm and decided defence of the whole Christian system, it 
is essential that w^e no longer confine the mind to those lim- 
ited views of the relations of the church of God in eternity 
to his whole kingdom, in which it has hitherto generally 
moved, but that we should rather enter other and more 
extended fields of thought. 

It is also my hope that I may furnish some small contri- 
bution to aid in advancing the future triumphs of the 
kingdom of Christ, by showing the relations of these more 
extended views to intellectual philosophy, education, and the 
proper organization of the ecclesiastical, civil and social 

A due regard to the friends and advocates of certain 


opinions, which have been long received, but are here con- 
troverted, leads me to say that the views which I have 
presented are not set forth in haste. For more than twenty 
years, so far as I could judge, I have regarded them as 
substantially true. But I have, nevertheless, deemed it my 
duty often to review and reconsider them in the light of 
past as well as of existing controversies, and also of the 
word and providence of God. I have been, moreover, in 
part induced to defer their publication till this time, by a 
respect to the judgment of honored friends. Still, however, 
my chief motive for delay has been a desire longer to watch 
this great controversy of ages in its present developments, 
and even to its close, — if, indeed, there should ever be a 
satisfactory close, — and to ascertain whether anything new 
could be suggested to give rational relief and unity to the 
mind of the community, and, at the same time, to mature 
my own thoughts, so that, if possible, I might avoid a crude 
and ill-digested presentation of so great a theme. 

In reviewing the opinions of others, I have uniformly 
felt that men who have honestly labored to elucidate so dif- 
ficult and trying a subject deserve sympathy and respect, 
and never severity, much less ridicule, even if their results 
may seem to us in many respects unreasonable or untrue. 
In this way only can a subject so difficult be treated, with 
any rational hope of benefiting all whom it concerns. May 
I not hope that, if any shall consider it their duty to review 
or to controvert any of my opinions, they will follow the 
same general principles ? 

Certainly, if any of my views are false, or any of my 
arguments unsound, they can be thoroughly exposed, and 
refuted with calmness, dignity, candor and kindness. Such 
honorable treatment is what I expect, if any effort shall be 
made to refute my views. But if, instead of this (which I 


will not anticipate), my arguments should be encountered 
with invidious remarks, or ridicule, or appeals to prejudice, 
then there Avill be sufficient reason to conclude, and all 
candid judges will conclude, that there is a conscious want 
of anything better with which they can be opposed. 

Is it not, however, to be hoped and expected that God, at 
length, will give to his people such faith in himself, as the 
only perfect defender of the truth, that they will practically 
believe that no degree whatever of sinful feeling can be of 
any avail, in defending the doctrines of the Bible ; nay, 
that, so far as it exists, it separates the soul from the great 
source of life and of truth, biases its judgment, and destroys 
the keenness and discrimination of its perceptions ? 

Is not the history of the church, in all ages, full of warn- 
ings on this point? How prone is depraved humanity 
imperfectly sanctified, to be influenced by such considera- 
tions and emotions as God abhors ! As hating sin, and 
infinitely exalted above its pollutions. He cannot but regard 
with utter repulsion any remaining pollutions of his people. 
He is entirely free from the narrowness of local interests, 
from envy, from rivalry, from ambition, from sectarian 
prejudice, from national bias, and from the errors of the 
age. He is light. He dwells in light ; and the essential 
element of that light is love. How, then, can he who walks 
in the darkness of sin commune with Him ? 

He has assured us, moreover, that into this light his 
church, at length, shall come. To her it shall be given to 
put on fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteous- 
ness of saints. To her shall be given that full knowledge of 
God which is implied in the marriage supper of the Lamb. 
To her it shall be said, ''Arise ! shine ! for thy light is come, 
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee ! " To her it 
shall be said, " The sun shall be no more thy light by day ; 


neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee 5 
but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and 
thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down ; 
neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall 
be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning 
shall be ended." 

If such things are near at hand, may we not hope, or. 
rather, believe, that God will give to all of his own people, 
who may engage in this and other investigations, so much 
of his Spirit that they shall walk in his light and dwell in 
his love ? 

BOOK 1. 




If into a community but little skilled in the laws of 
nature and the principles of mechanics a steamship were 
to be introduced, and if it were stated, as the common 
traditional direction of mechanics and philosophers, that the 
wheels should be so adjusted that they would revolve in 
opposite directions, it may be that the ignorance of the men 
of that community, and the force of traditional authority, 
would induce them, at first, to comply with the direction. 
But if, as would surely be the case, it was found by experi- 
ment that, when the wheels so adjusted were put in motion, 
the boat, so far from obeying her rudder, or taking an 
onward course, would do nothing but revolve incessantly 
round, without progress, — and, moreover, that her whole 
frame was unnaturally wrenched and strained by this 
method of procedure, and that, meantime, she had no power 
so to resist the winds and currents that they would not 
drift her wheresoever they would, — then, in all probability, 
the men in that community would repudiate the traditional 


direction which they had received, as inconsistent with the 
necessary and immutable laws of mechanics, and introducing 
discord and conflict into the system to which it was applied. 
And if, on adjusting the wheels so that they would both 
revolve in the same direction, it was found that the boat 
moved straight on in obedience to her rudder, and was able 
to resist the power of winds and currents, they would feel 
abundantly confirmed in their conviction of the essential 
falsehood of the traditional direction ; nor could any amount 
of authority avail against this practical demonstration, taken 
from the working of the system itself. 

An argument of the same kind, and of no less power, 
would rationally arise from the practical workings of a sys- 
tem of theology, against any traditional adjustment of its 
parts, if it had been found, on trial, to cause its main mov- 
ing powers, in like manner, to work against each other, — 
thus introducing perpetual internal conflict into the very 
vitals of the system. 

No question can be more interesting or important than 
whether there is good reason to believe that such a tradi- 
tional misadjustment has been introduced into the current 
system of Christianity ; and whether, in consequence of it, 
the main moving powers of the system have been made, 
from age to age, to work against each other ; and whether 
at this hour there is an internal conflict in the system, which 
no wit or skill of man can remove or overcome, till the tra- 
ditional misadjustment from which it springs has been repu- 
diated. For, if such be the fact, never, till the misadjust- 
ment is removed, will the moving powers of the system 
work together, — never, till then, will the internal conflict 
cease. Whether such is the fact is the question to be con- 



That this is the case, we may derive a presumptive 
proof from the history of certain recent wide-spread theo- 
logical controversies among ourselves. No controversy in 
the theological world has excited a deeper interest among 
those who are reputed — and that justly — the decided 
friends of orthodoxy, than that between those who are 
familiarly called, in the Congregational and Presbyterian 
churches, "the Old School" and "the New School" 
divines. These terms have, in themselves, little signifi- 
cancy. Their import will be more fully disclosed as we 
proceed. It is sufficient here to remark, that New Eng- 
land has been the great fountain-head of the new divinity, 
and that the theological seminary at Princeton has been 
conceded to be the strongest citadel of the old theology. 
The two denominations among whom this conflict has been 
most fully developed have exerted, from the beginning, a 
very powerful influence in forming the character and shap- 
ing the destinies of this nation. The influence of the con- 
troversy has also extended to other denominations. If, then, 
we view our relations as a nation to the world, no one can 
properly say that this is merely a local controversy. Aflect- 
ing deeply, as it does, the religious interests of this nation, 
it affects, also, those of the world. No one who is famil- 
iarly acquainted with those engaged in this controversy ean 


deny that the great body on both sides are eminently pious, 
devoted, laborious, useful men. They profess, alike, to be 
followers of the great reformers, and to regard with peculiar 
favor the system of doctrines developed by Calvin. They 
are, alike, the antagonists of formalism, and of ecclesiastical 
despotism, and the advocates of spiritual religion, of colle- 
g-iate and popular education, of revivals of religion, and of 
the benevolent enterprises of the age. There is no good 
reason, therefore, why they should not have loved each 
other with a pure heart fervently, and no reason, so far as 
the great fundamentals of doctrine and practice are con- 
cerned, why they should not have been perfectly joined 
together in one mind and in one judgment. Brotherly love, 
in its elevated forms, is one of the happiest experiences of 
the human mind ; nor is there any the manifestation of 
which is more honorable to God, or more powerful to pro- 
duce conviction of the divine origin of Christianity. How 
much, then, might these Christian brethren have enjoyed, 
how much might they have honored God, how much might 
they have blessed the world, if they had been united with 
the full power and fervor of common convictions and broth- 
erly love ! 

And yet, instead of this, for years there has been between 
them an incessant controversy. In it, an incredible amount 
of intellect, emotion and energy, has been expended. Each 
party has been jEilled with alarm at the dangerous tenden- 
cies, or alleged pernicious influence, of some fondly-cherished 
principles of the other, as threatening either to subvert 
the gospel or to destroy its power. They have, therefore, 
conscientiously put, forth great eiforts to destroy the influ- 
ence and arrest the progress of each other. As a natural 
and necessary result, in the course of this controversy there 
lias been, in various ways, a vast amount of mental suffer- 


ing. Pious men, deeply devoted to God, and earnestly 
laboring to effect the moral renovation and salvation of their 
fellow-men, have been cut to the heart by a keen sense of 
injustice, when suspicions have been created and dissemi- 
nated, Dr even direct charges made, that they were unsound 
in the faith, and dangerous heresiarchs. Others have been 
pained and irritated by the charge of holding gross and 
exploded absurdities, dishonorable to God and ruinous to 
man. The amount of influence thus employed by good men 
to neutralize each other's power has been immense, nor has 
it failed to produce its natural effects. The internal strug- 
gles and convulsions thus produced in this large body of 
churches have wasted an amount of energy great almost 
beyond imagination. The Presbyterian church has been 
twice rent asunder. The New England Congregational 
churches, incapable, by reason of their organization, of such 
a division, have yet been, in fact, thrown into opposing par- 
ties, and agitated and torn by incessant and painful strife. 

Meantime, in the eyes of intelligent spectators, not 
familiar with theological debates, religion itself has been 
dishonored. How can it be otherwise, when such eminent 
men as have figured in these unhappy controversies, on both 
sides, — men who have had no superiors in the land, — have 
not only been arrayed in strife against each other, but have 
brought against each other charges of the most serious and 
injurious kind? We have, by custom, become famihar 
with this state of things, and do not at once apprehend its 
unspeakable evils. But, if we could suppose entire confi- 
dence and ardent brotherly love to have existed for the last 
century among the leading minds of these churches, and 
all their energies consecrated to the great departments of 
education, religious revivals, and benevolent enterprise, who 
can conceive how much greater the impulse that had been 


given to tlie cause of God, not only in our own land, but 
throughout the whole world ! 

And when these intelligent spectators ask, what are the 
points on which these good men are so divided, and in view 
of which they expend so much energy in destroying each 
other's power, it is very hard to give a reply which shall 
be brief, intelligible and satisfactory to the common mind. 
No one or two great, prominent, definite, intelligible scrip- 
tural doctrines can be stated by which a fundamental line of 
distinction can be drawn between them. They profess, in 
fact, to hold the same great revealed doctrines, and to differ 
only in certain modes of stating, explaining, and defending 

Nor are developments of this kind limited to the last fifty 
or one hundred years, nor to the Presbyterian and Congre- 
gational churches of this land. The controversy has not. 
indeed, always been developed under its present names, nor 
with the same extent and system. But its essential ele- 
ments have existed — as I shall soon show — as far back as 
the third or fourth century since Christ, and have been 
developed, in various forms, in each succeeding century, to 
this day, and in almost, if not quite, every Christian body. 

It has been, moreover, in all ages, as it is now, a contro- 
versy among sincere Christians. It is, in this respect, en- 
tirely unlike the atheistic, pantheistic, infidel, and othei- 
controversies, in which all real Christians are on one side. 
But by this controversy, in all ages, as now, real Christians 
are divided against real Christians. 

It is, also, worthy of special note, that this is a contro- 
versy in which no permanent and radical progress has as 
yet been made towards a final settlement. Good men are 
at this day as really and as thoroughly divided against good 
men as they ever were. At one time, the New School 


Theology (so called), proceeding from New England, seems 
to be carrying all before it in the Presbyterian church. 
Then there is a division, and a combination, not only with- 
out, but also within New England, to react upon it, and to 
restore the Old School theology to its original power. So 
has it been, in other ages and climes. Action and reaction 
have followed each other, but no substantial progress towards 
a termination of the controversy has ever been made. 

Until at some future time this controversy shall cease, no 
one can tell how much it has weakened and paralyzed the 
whole church of God, and fatally destroyed its onward and 
impulsive power. Like the ship supposed, she has obeyed 
no rudder of universally-admitted principle, but has drifted 
at the mercy of the winds and currents of controversy. 

And yet no serious suspicion seems ever to have been 
awakened, that, after all, the difficulty lies, not in the alleged 
points of difference, but in some false adjustment, in which 
both parties agree, and by which the great moving powers 
of the system have been made to act against each other ; and 
that, until this false adjustment is removed, there is a neces- 
sary and inevitable conflict in the system itself 

Is it not time, then, to consider this aspect of the case ? 
Is not such a thing supposable ? And does not this endless 
conflict of good men, with no progress, and no result but to 
cripple and neutralize each other, render the supposition in 
no small degree probable 7 

Such probability, however, is not all the evidence that 
the case demands, nor, happily, is it all that exists. It is 
possible, not only to show what are the two great moving 
powers of Christianity, but, also, to prove that they have 
been so adjusted that they do, in fact, work against each 
other, and thus produce necessary division and conflict in 
the system. Of this it now remains to adduce the proof 



By the moving powers of Christianity, I mean those 
truths which in practice are of fundamental importance in 
the great work of moral renovation. Moral renovation is 
the great practical end for which the system of Christianity 
is designed, and in which it terminates. This work presup- 
poses depravity in man, and a system of means ordained 
for its removal. Christ thus states his own views of his 
great aim and end : "I came not to call the righteous, but 
sinners, to repentance. The Son of Man is come to seek 
and save that which is lost." This is to be effected by pro- 
ducing in sinful man conviction of sin, a true and honorable 
sense of its evils, repentance and faith in Christ. But true 
repentance and confession of sin imply a conviction that the 
conduct of God towards the sinner has been, in all things, 
honorable and right, and that his own conduct towards God 
has been wrong, dishonorable, and without excuse. It is 
plain, therefore, that those are the great moving powers of 
Christianity which are essential in order to produce these 
results. It is no less plain that they are the two following : 

1. A true and thorough statement of what is involved in 
the fallen and ruined condition of man as a sinner. 

2. A full development of the honor, justice, and benevo- 
lence of God, in all his dealings with man, so made, as, in 


the first place, to free him from the charge of dishonorably 
ruining them, and then to exhibit him as earnestly and 
benevolently engaged in efforts for their salvation, througli 
Christ, after they have been ruined by their own fault. 

Of these two moving powers, each is equally indispens- 
able in the great work of renovating and saving man. Till 
he is brought truly to see and deeply to feel his lost and 
ruined state, and the dangers to which he is exposed, he 
will make no effort to secure a salvation of which he feels 
no need. 

Nor, on the other hand, can any one sincerely and honor- 
ably confess and repent, if his views of God are such that 
he regards him as, by unjust and dishonorable measures, the 
author of his ruin. He may feel slavish fear, but he will 
not feel genuine repentance, till he admits the charge that 
the entire guilt is his own, and believes that God can for- 
give him through Christ, and is earnestly and benevolently 
eDo;ao;ed in efforts for his salvation. 

In these views, thus generally stated, we think that all 
true Christians will agree. They may differ in the manner 
in which they would develop the truths included under each 
of these great heads. But, that the practical working 
power of the system depends upon them, no one, we think, 
will deny. 

These, then, are the two great moving powers of Chris- 
tianity. These, to resume our original comparison, are the 
wheels which must be so adjusted as to work harmoniously 
together, before Christianity as a system can exert its full 
power. These, too, are the powers which, as we propose to 
show, have been made, by an unhappy misadjustment, to 
work against each other, and hence the calamitous results 
that have been already set forth. 

Before attempting definitely to state what is the alleged 


misadjustment, it is important, in the first place, to prove 
that the conflict said to be caused by it really exists, and is 
unavoidable as the system is now adjusted. This will be 
made perfectly apparent by a mere statement of what is 
involved in a full development of each of these great moving 



What, then, are the principles of honor and of right, by 
"which the conduct of God ought to be regulated in his deal- 
ings with his creatures, and especially with new-created 
minds ? A knowledge of these is manifestly essential, in 
order to set forth that great moving power of Christianity, 
which I announced as the second, but shall consider as in 
in the order of nature the first. 

This is, as has been said, a full development of the honor, 
righteousness and benevolence of God towards his sinful 
creatures, so as, in the first place, to free him from the 
charge of dishonorably causing their ruin, and then to 
exhibit him as earnestly and benevolently engaged in eiForts, 
through Christ, for their salvation when lost, so that he 
can truly say, " Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is 
thy help!" 

The elements of this great moving power of Christianity 
are to be derived from those natural judgments, concerning 
the principles of honor and right, which God has made the 
human mind to form with intuitive certainty, and which he 
designed to be a divine disclosure to us of the principles by 
which he regulates his own conduct. 

Inasmuch, however, as the mind of man is depraved, and 
there may be danger in trusting its unrevised and uncor- 


reeled decisions as to these principles, it is of great 
importance, for purposes of revision, carefully to study 
those developments of benevolent, honorable and just feel- 
ings, towards which the human mind, after regeneration, 
and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is found most 
directly to tend. 

The results thus obtained we are again to verify, by com- 
paring them, as far as may be, with the explicit statements 
of the word of God. 

This great moving power deserves particular attention. 
It is of fundamental importance in this whole investigation. 
No man will call in question what he concedes to be a real 
decision of God, however made ; but there have been, and 
still are, those who think so much more of the verbal rev- 
elations of God than of any other, that they almost overlook 
the fact that the foundations of all possible knowledge 
have been laid by God in the consciousness and the intuitive 
perceptions of the mind itself Forgetful of this fact, they 
have often, by unfounded interpretations of scripture, done 
violence to the mind, and overruled the decisions made by 
God himself through it, and then sought shelter in faith 
and mystery. To avert, therefore, such results, I shall 
proceed in the manner already suggested, to show that there 
are divinely-given convictions as to honor and right, and to 
state such of them as are required by the present dis- 

That there are, then, fundamental judgments concerning 
honor and right, which God has made the human mind to 
form with intuitive certainty, and which he designed to be a 
divine disclosure of the principles by which he regulates 
his own conduct, has been extensively held by leading 
divines and philosophers. Dr. Alexander says, "That God, 
as a moral governor, has incorporated the elements of his 


law into our very constitution." He with great earnest- 
ness maintains, so his son assures us, "the intuitive 
perceptions of conscience as independent of every doctrine 
of theology, even the greatest." Other authorities might 
be quoted, but it is better to rest the case upon the testi- 
mony of God himself, and not upon the decisions of unin- 
spired teachers. The doctrine before us is an expressly 
revealed doctrine of the word of God. Nor has it been 
revealed incidentally, and in unimportant relations; but 
formally, and as the basis of God's proceedings in the most 
important transaction of the present dispensation, — a trans- 
action vitally affecting the interests of the greatest portion 
of the human race. I refer to the final judgment of all 
who have lived and died without a written revelation of the 
laws of God. That such will be judged and punished for 
their sins, is distinctly announced by the Apostle Paul 
(Rom. 2 : 12, 16). The reason which justifies this mode 
of proceeding is there distinctly declared to be, that God 
has so constituted their minds that their intuitive decisions 
on questions of honor and right are, in fact, a law of God, 
although not revealed by a written revelation. Listen, then, 
to the divine statement : 

" For when the Gentiles, which have not the (revealed) 
law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, 
having not the law, are a law unto themselves ; which 
show the work of the law written in their hearts, — their 
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the 
mean while accusing, or else excusing, one another." 

It is not necessary here to go into a careful analysis of 
words or phrases, for the main truth which I am consider- 
ing lies on the very face of the passage. God, it assures 
us, will judge the Gentiles at the last day, though they 
have no revealed law, " Because they are a law unto them- 


selves, inasmuch as the work of the law is written on their 
hearts ; that is, because he has so made their minds that 
a standard of judgment is disclosed by their natural and 
intuitive perceptions and convictions of honor and right. 
Indeed, so clear is the case, that leading commentators of 
all schools coincide in this interpretation. 

Prof Hodge says, in commenting on the assertion 
that the Gentiles "do by nature the things of the law,'*' 
" When they practise any of the virtues, or perform any 
moral acts, these acts are evidence of a moral sense ; they 
show that the Gentiles have a rule of right and wrong, and 
a feeling of obligation ; or, in other words, that they are 
* a law unto themselves.' When the Gentiles are said to 
do by nature the things of the law, it is meant that they 
have not been taught by others. It is neither by instruc- 
tion nor example, but by their own innate sense of right and 
wrong, that they are directed. Having this natural sense of 
right and wrong, though destitute of a law externally 
revealed, they are a law unto themselves." 

Prof. Stuart declares that the import of the passage, as 
a reply to the Jew, is, " Although a heathen man has no 
scripture (and in this 'respect no law), yet he has an inter- 
nal revelation inscribed on his heart, which is a rule of 
life to him, and which, if perfectly obeyed, would confer 
justification on him, as well and as truly as entire obedience 
to the written law could confer it upon you." As a matter 
of fact, however, he holds that neither Jew nor Gentile 
does so obey as to be justified. Prof Stuart again 
says, " Those commit a great mistake who deny that men 
can have any sense of moral duty or obligation without a 
knowledge of the Scriptures. The apostle's argument^ in 
order to convince the Gentiles of sin, rests on a basis 
entirely difierent from this." Again, the statement that 


the work of the law is written on their hearts means, in 
his judgment, " That the great precepts of moral duty are 
deeply impressed on our moral nature, and coexist with it, 
even when it is unenlightened by special revelation." 

Dr. Chalmers says of the apostle's reasoning, in verse 
15, "There seem here to be two distinct proofs of the 
Gentiles being a law unto themselves. The first is from 
the fact of there being a conscience individually at work in 
each bosom, and deponing either to the merit or demerit of 
actions ; the second, from the fact of their accusing or 
excusing one another in the reasonings or disputes which 
took place between man and man. * ^ * This proves 
them to be in possession of a common rule or standard of 
judging ; or, in other words, that a la,w is actually among 
them. So true is it, even in its application to the Gentiles, 
that there is a light which lighteth every man who cometh 
into the world." Again, " There do exist, even in the 
remotest tracks of paganism, such vestiges of light, as, 
when collected together, form a code or directory of moral 
conduct. There are still to be found among them the 
fragments of a law, which they never follow but with an 
approving conscience, and never violate but with the check 
of an opposing remonstrance, that by their own wilfulness 
and their own obstinacy is overborne, — in other words, they 
are a law unto themselves, and their conscience vests it 
with an authority, by bearing witness to the Tightness and 
obligation of its requirements." 

Tholuck remarks, '' By the law written on the heart, Paul 
meant the conscience, — that which constitutes the bond of 
relationship between man and God, and which discovers 
itself as a sense of what is just and good." Agam, '* When 
the Gentiie contemplated the law written within him as a 
commandment inscribed by God himself upon his heart, he 


miglit feel himself excited to obedience by a reverential awe 
of what is holy. This feeling, although it did not govern 
men's lives among the Greeks, comes yet^ nobly forward in 
many sentiments of the tragic poets. To cite one example, 
see the admirable chorus upon conscience in (Edipus 

In striking accordance with these views, Melancthon has 
with great eloquence said, " Wherefore our decision is this : 
that those precepts which learned men have committed to 
writing, transcribing them from the common reason and 
common feelings of human nature, are to be accounted as 
not less divine than those contained in the tables given to 
Moses ; and, that it could not be the intention of our Maker 
to supersede, by a law graven on stone, that which is written 
by his own finger on the table of the heart." 

Calvin, commenting on this passage, strongly enforces 
the same views: — ''Since all nations are spontaneously 
inclined to enact laws for themselves, it is too clear to be 
doubted that there are certain conceptions of justice and 
right which exist by nature in the minds of men." "He 
opposes nature to the written law, meaning that a natural 
light of justice illuminates the Gentiles, which supplies the 
place of the law by which the Jews are instructed, so that 
they are a law unto themselves." (See Note, p. 30.) 

Nor have these views been promulgated solely by the 
apostle Paul. Our Saviour, in his controversies with the 
Jews, assumed the existence of native and intuitive princi- 
ples of right, — of divine authority, — and appealed to them, 
and called on his antagonists to do the same (Luke 12 : 
57). '^ Yea, why, even of yourselves, judge ye not what 
is right?" The system of Christ, to use the words of 
Henry, "has reason and natural conscience on its side; 
and, if men would allow themselves the liberty of judging 


what is right, they would soon find that all Christ's pre- 
cepts concerning all things are right." Calvin says, on 
this passage, " Here Christ lays open the source of the evil, 
and touches, as it were with a lancet, the internal ulcer ; 
they would not descend into their own consciences, and, 
before God, inquire within themselves what is right." 

Abraham, moreover, in his plea for guilty Sodom, first 
adduced certain intuitive principles of right, and then, by the 
appeal, " Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 
assumed not only that the mind of man was made intuitively 
to perceive the principles of right, but also that God was 
as truly bound by them as man ; and God himself, by his 
reply, sanctioned the assumption. He has also at other 
times sanctioned it, particularly in that impressive argument 
with the Jews, contained in the eighteenth and thirty-third 
chapters of Ezekiel, in which he appeals to the natural con- 
victions of the human mind concerning what is honorable 
and right, in vindication of his own conduct against the 
charge that his ways were not equal. The conclusion of his 
argument is this, " Are not my ways equal, and are not 
your ways unequal? saith the Lord." Thus he did not 
repudiate the standard of judgment before which they 
sought to try his ways ; but, admitting its authority as a 
natural revelation proceeding from himself, he joined issue 
with them, and declared that he could endure the scrutiny, 
and that they could not. Indeed, it is the highest, the 
crowning glory of God, that he can thus " overcome when 
he is judged.'^ 

It is proper that I should here call particular attention 
to the reason why I have so largely unfolded the scriptural 
evidence in favor of the position which I have laid down. 
I have done it for the sake of prominence and impression, 
and fixed attention. It is, because an appeal to the natural 


and intuitive principles of honor and right, such as I shalJ 
soon have occasion to make, is often regarded and treated 
as an improper and dangerous species of rationalizing. Of 
this we maj see striking illustrations hefore we close this 
discussion. I deem it therefore important — nay, essential — 
to show that the position which I shall hereafter assume is 
ri.ot improper rationalism, but a doctrine of the word of 
God, as clearly revealed as the doctrine of depravity itself 
God himself declares that the intuitive perceptions of the 
human mind, as to honor and right, are a revelation from 
the Creator, — a divine law, of supreme and binding 
authority. God himself enjoins it on men, as a sacred duty, 
to judge by them. He does not feel honored by any 
defence which disregards them. Nay, he admits that his 
own conduct is amenable to judgment by these principles, 
and defends himself by an appeal to the same. 

I admit, indeed, that few have dared openly to deny that 
there are among men such intuitive principles of honor and 
right ; but, nevertheless, some, as we shall soon see, when 
pressed by their application to certain alleged acts of 
God, have denied that they are common alike to God and 
to man, and alike binding on both. Concerning this view, 
I would say, with emphasis, that it is a most unfounded and 
pernicious position. It is unfounded ; for who has evei 
adduced, or can adduce, any evidence of its truth 7 It is 
most pernicious; for it destroys that which Tholuck sc 
impressively calls '' the bond of relationship between God 
and man." Indeed, it would subvert the very foundation? 
of the government of God. How could we see or adore 
the glories of the divine character, how could we ever 
enter into rational and joyful communion with God, if he 
had so made our minds that our intuitive judgments of 
honor and right were, or could be, opposed to his ownl 


How could we ever correctly judge of the honor or recti- 
tude of his conduct, if the standard of honor and rectitude 
revealed by him. in the structure of our minds, did not 
agree with his own standard on the same points ? Such a 
state of things would lay the foundation of necessary and 
eternal discord between him and us, and that on the most 
important of all practical questions. We must therefore 
of necessity assume, not only that there are judgments con- 
cerning honor and right which God has made the human 
mind to form with intuitive certainty, but that they are 
common to God and to man. This is a fundamental 
doctrine of the Bible. To test any alleged acts of God 
by such principles, is not improper rationalizing. God not 
only authorizes, but even enjoins it as a sacred duty. To 
this point I call special attention. 

It is no less plain, that whatever these principles are, 
their authority is supreme. Iso considerations of mere 
expediency or policy, whether individual or general, if 
opposed to them, ought to have any force ; nor with God can 
they have any force. Though there is above him neither 
judge nor judgment to which he is responsible, yet he has, in 
his own mind, an eternal and immutable law of honor and 
right which he cannot disregard, and he is his own omnis- 
cient judge. Should he not follow his own convictions of 
honor and of right, he could not retain his own self-respect, 
but would experience infinite self-condemnation and remorse ; 
he would be the most miserable being in the universe. It 
is, therefore, an infinite necessity in God's own nature that 
he should obey the laws of honor and of right ; and, beyond 
all doubt, he ever has, and ever will. A summary of these 
laws is nowhere explicitly and systematically set forth in 
the word of God: they are rather from time to timo 
assumed, as exigences occur. 


Nor, so far as I know, has it been customary, in setting 
forth the Christian system, to attempt any formal statement 
of them. For this, obvious reasons may, in certain cases, 
account. Acts have been by some ascribed to God, which, 
to say the least, are at war with our common ideas of equity 
and honor. In such cases, it is natural, as far as may be, 
to avoid a formal statement of these ideas. 

If, however, the subject cannot be avoided, the same 
causes tend to produce a constrained and unnatural action 
of the mind. The supposed acts of God are assumed as a 
standard, and all principles are rejected that disagree with 
them ; or, at least, it is said that, though true with respect 
to man, they are not with respect to God : and that he is not 
bound by them, though man is. Indeed, this has been done 
to a great extent, as will be shown in the cases of Pascal, 
Abelard, and others ; and has, as might have been expected, 
revealed its tendencies by its disastrous influences on the 
mind. An effort to eradicate from the mind any real prin- 
ciple of honor and right does violence to our intellectual 
and moral nature. Such principles cannot be exterminated. 
They will protest against the violence. The mind still 
yearns after them, and cannot rest and be satisfied till they 
are assumed as true. 

These principles, so far as involved in this inquiry, have 
reference to the following points, among others : 

1. The distinction that ought to be made between the 
innocent and the guilty. / 

2. The distinction that ought to be made between original 
constitution and responsible moral character. 

3. The relations and obligations that exist between great 
and powerful minds and such as are more feeble and lim- 
ited, and especially between the great self-sustained Mind 
and such as are inferior and dependent. 


4. The obligations of the Creator to new-created beings, 
as to their original constitution, powers, circumstances, and 

On all these points God has made the human mind to 
have decided intuitive convictions as to what is consist- 
ent with equity and honor. These we are not violently 
to suppress by preconceived theories, or assumed facts. 
If any alleged actions of God come into collision with 
the natural and intuitive judgments of the human mind 
concerning what is honorable and right on the points speci- 
fied, there is better reason to call in question the alleged 
fiicts than to suppose those principles to be false which God 
has made the human mind intuitively to recognize as true. 
Moreover, we have divine authority for so doing ; since, in 
a debate with the Jews, involving these points, God does 
not hesitate to appeal to these very principles, and to reason 
in perfect accordance with their common and obvious deci- 
sions. Ezek. 18: 1—4, 19, 22, 25, 29, and 33: 11, 

It has been already stated that aid is to be derived, in 
developing and arranging the principles of honor and right, 
by considering those manifestations of thought and convic- 
tion towards which the human mind, when regenerated and 
sanctified, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, most 
directly tends. It cannot be supposed that the progress 
of true sanctification tends to make men unlike God in 
thought, emotions and convictions ; but, rather, to restore 
them more fully to his lost image, and to prepare them for 
that intimate and perfect communion with him for which 
the redeemed are especially designed. 

How far the unregenerated mind can, in fact, be per- 
verted in its moral judgments by depravity, I shall not here 
undertake to ' decide. But, so far as there is a liability of 


this kind, it is plainly rem-Dved so far as the mind is sancti • 
fied, and thus restored to its normal state of sympathetic 
communion with God. In this state, its moral decisions 
ought justly to be regarded as more and more evidently in 
harmony with those of God. 

The remaining source which I have specified, from which 
we can derive aid in revising and perfecting our systematic 
enunciation of the principles of honor and right, is to be 
found in the incidental assumptions and statements of the 
word of God. Though there is not, as has been remarked, 
any complete formal and systematic view of this subject 
given in the Bible, yet, in various occasional assertions and 
incidental statements, God has clearly set forth his own 
feelings and views. 

The fact that so much less intellectual effort has ever 
been expended in setting forth the demands of honor and 
justice on God, in his dealings with new-created rJnds, than 
has been in stating and proving the ruined condi ,ion of man, 
is, probably, the reason that no public formulari js have ever 
made any explicit statements on the subject. In conse- 
quence of this, and of the fact that it has not been common 
formally to discuss it in systems of theology, I shall not be 
able to make full statements of conceded principles in the 
systematized formulas of others, as I propose to do on the 
subject of human depravity. I shall, on the other hand, 
derive my statements from a careful examination and con- 
sideration of the sources of evidence already stated, and then 
compare them with incidental statements by others. 

Note. — I do not quote the preceding authors to sanction the peculiar 
theory of any one as to the nature and action of conscience, but only their 
great common doctrine, that God has so made the mind that i* has in som« 
way intuitive perceptions of honsr and right. 



What, then, are the principles of honor and right on the 
various points which have been specified ? 

1. God has made us intuitively to perceive and feel, and, 
therefore, he also perceives and feels, that increase of powers 
to any degree of magnitude produces, not a decrease, but 
an increase, of obligation to feel and act benevolently 
towards inferiors, — that is, with an honorable regard to 
their true and highest good. 

In proportion as a mind is strong, independent, and 
abundantly able to secure its own welfare, it is free from 
temptations to be absorbed in its own interests and cares, 
and is at leisure to think and feel and plan for others, 
whose welfare is not thus secure. 

Moreover, as the powers of the superior mind increase, 
he has the greater ability to do good or evil to inferior 
minds. Of course, his obligation to use it for their good 
increases. Moreover, the influence of his example increases 
as his powers increase. Of course, he is bound by a propor- 
tionate obligation to make it such as all can safely imitate. 

No moral principles are recognized as true with a clearer 
and more absolute intuition than those which I have now 

How is it in the parental relation ? Do not all feel that 
the superior powers of parents create an obligation of the 


most toucliing and imperative kind towards a weak, de- 
fenceless, new-born infant ? Do not such superior powers, 
and the fact that their example will exert a controlling influ- 
ence, sacredly bind them in all things so to use their powers, 
and regulate their example, as to promote the highest good 
of the young heir of immortality who lies helpless in their 
arms ? Would it not seem unspeakably horrible to allege 
their superior powers as a reason for doing otherwise ? 

If, therefore, God gives existence to inferior and depend- 
ent minds, is he, the Infinite Father, can he be, under any 
other or different obligations 7 Does he desire us to think 
of him as not tenderly affected, and not bound by the appeal 
made to him by a new-created mind, in view of the fearful 
eternity that spreads out before him, so to exert his infinite 
powers, and so to order his infinite example, as shall most 
entirely tend to promote his eternal good 7 Does not every 
intuitive conviction, every honorable impulse of a benevolent 
mind, call for such an assurance concerning God, in order 
to be satisfied with his character 7 Is not this the dividing 
line between the divine and the satanic spirit 7 When, in 
this world, those who have gained wealth, knowledge and 
power, separate themselves in feeling and sympathy from 
the poor, ignorant and weak, and form select and exclusive 
circles, as if their superior powers and advantages imposed 
on them no obligation to sympathize with the sufferings 
and promote the welfare of those below them, can anything 
more perfectly illustrate the satanic spirit of him whose law 
is selfishness 7 Ought not the spirit of God to be entirely 
the reverse of this 7 Is it not 7 Could he be honorable or 
righteous if it were not so 7 Does any one allege his right, 
as creator, to do as he will with his creatures 7 Within 
certain limits, he has this right. But creation gives no 
vight to the creator to disregard or to undervalue the well- 


being of creatures, or to treat them contrary to the lawa 
of their intellectual, moral and voluntary nature, on the 
ground that he created them. It is not enough to say, 
that, as he would treat them if he had not made them, so 
ought he now to treat them. On the other hand, the fact 
that he created them makes the most touching of all appeals 
to every principle of honor and right in the Almighty Cre- 
ator to be their defender, protector, and friend. 

If it is said, God, as the greatest of all beings, makes 
himself, and not his creatures, his great end, it is enough 
to say, in reply, even if this were so, — ^^n which I do not 
feel called upon now to express an opinion, — still, God 
cannot promote either his own happiness or glory, except by 
the observance of the principles of honor and right of which 
we are now speaking. Even if, therefore, he makes him- 
self his chief end, he must observe them. Nor could he 
make any other truly honorable minds happy, if he were to 
disregard these principles, for the sake of any supposed 
greater good of which they are to partake. A truly hon- 
orable mind cannot conceive of a higher good, than that the 
God whom he loves and adores should fulfil, to the highest 
conceivable degree of exactness, every demand of honor and 
right to every created mind, however small. 

No personal honor, no exaltation, no amount of enjoy- 
ment, would bribe such a mind to be satisfied with a God 
who (even for his sake) had disregarded the principles 
of honor to any one, even the least of all created minds. 
And it calls for a serious review of his opinions, if any one 
is conscious of ascribing to God acts which make him fear 
to admit this principle in its full extent. God glories in 
defending the smallest and the feeblest of all his creatures. 

2. No man, unless compelled by some supposed neces- 
sH.y, would ever think of denying that the principles of 


honor and right call upon God not to hold his creatures 
responsible or punishable for anything in them of which 
they are not the authors, but of which he is. either directly 
or indirectly, the creator, and which exists in them anterior 
to and independent of any knowledge, desire, choice or 
action, of their own. Whatever thus exists is a part of the 
original constitution conferred by the Creator on his creat- 
ures; and for this he is obviously responsible, and not 
they. His creatures are responsible only for that moral 
character which consists in or flows from their own volun- 
tary use of the powers conferred on them by him. To prove 
the truth of this statement, no argument is needed. It is 
one of the clearest and most absolute intuitive perceptions 
of the mind. God has so made our nature that we recog- 
nize its truth with a clearness and certainty that cannot be 
increased. This is distinctly recognized as the true ground 
of responsibility in the inspired volume. It is so expressly 
stated by God, through the prophet Ezekiel. The sen- 
tence of death is denounced upon the soul that sinneth, and 
none else. (Ezekiel, chapters eighteen and thirty- three.) 
The coming judge of all declares, "My reward is with me, 
to give to every man according as his work shall be." The 
apostle Paul also announces that, before the judgment-seat 
of Jesus Christ, every man shall receive according to what 
he has done, whether it be good or bad. But nowhere in 
the word of God is it ever stated that a man is rewarded or 
punished for an involuntary constitution, which he received 
from God. 

3. The principles of honor and right require of God, 
inasmuch as he demands of his creatures that they do what 
is right, and inasmuch as this demand is founded in the 
nature of things, that he should not himself confound the 
distinction between right and wrong, by dealing with the 


righteous as with the wicked. The patriarch Abraham, in 
his most eloquent and touching plea for guilty Sodom, 
assumed that the judge of all the earth would do wrong if 
he did this. '' That be far from thee to do after this man- 
ner, to slay the righteous with the wicked ; and that the 
righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee ; 
shall not the judge of all the earth do right? " Did God 
repudiate this assumption of Abraham, that righteous man, 
whom he was not ashamed to call his friend ? Nay, verily, 
he rather accepted and con&med it by his approval. With 
reference to this point, Dr. Alexander, therefore, well says, 
' • All intuitively discern, that, for a ruler to punish the 
innocent, and spare the guilty, is morally wrong," p. 36. 
Still further ; inspiration has decided that it is essential to 
true faith in God to believe, not only that he is, but that 
he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. 

4. The principles of honor and right demand of God not 
so to charge the wrong conduct of one being to others as to 
punish one person for the conduct of another, to which he 
did not consent, and in which he had no part. No decision 
of the human mind concerning honor and right can be 
clearer than this, and it is distinctly recognized by God as 
true. When the Jews, in the days of Ezekiel, charged him 
with injustice, for punishing them for sins which they had 
never committed, — that is, for the sins of their fathers, — he 
did not admit the truth of the charge, and claim the right 
so to punish ; but he indignantly, and in every variety of 
form, denied the fact alleged, and declared that the son 
should not bear the iniquity of the father, nor the lather 
that of the son, but that every man should bear his own 
iniquity. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "The 
righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the 
wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Upon this 


ground alone did God rest his appeal to his accusers,— " Are 
not my ways equal, and are not your ways unequal? " 

5. Since the creatures of God do not exist by their own 
will, and since they exist for eternity, and since nothing 
more vitally affects their prospects for eternity than t)ie 
constitutional powers and propensities with which they begin 
their existence, the dictates of honor and right demand thvit 
God shall confer on them such original constitutions r^s 
shall, in their natural and proper tendencies, favorably 
aifect their prospects for eternity, and place a reasonable 
power of right conduct and of securing eternal life in the 
possession of all. 

If, then, in the original constitution of any new-created 
mind, and entirely independent of his knowledge, desire, 
choice or agency, there is that which is really sinful (if the 
idea were not absurd, and the supposition were possible), and 
if he had no power to do good, and thus secure eternal life, 
such a creature would not be treated by the Creator accord- 
ing to the dictates of honor and right, nor would he be 
responsible for the sin so existing ; for he would not be its 
author, but God, and for it God would be responsible. 

Still further ; if in the original constitution of a new- 
created mind, anterior to his choice or action, there is a 
radical derangement or corruption, resulting in a powerful 
tendency or propensity to sin, certain to result in ruin, 
whilst, at the same time, God had the power to create it 
without this derangement or corruption, so that its natural 
and proper development would tend towards eternal life, 
then such a mind is not dealt with rightfully and honorably. 

He does not and cannot decide with what constitutional 
powers he shall exist. And yet nothing more vitally 
aflfects his prospects for eternity. If his original constitu- 
tion is such that it naturally tends towards evil with great 


power, and thus cr<!ates a moral certainty of ruin, then 
existence is to him no blessing, but a curse ; nor has the 
Creator dealt honorably or benevolently by him. 

6. Not only do the demands of honor and right forbid 
the Creator thus to injure his creature in his original con- 
stitution, but they equally forbid him to place him in 
circumstances needlessly unfavorable to right conduct, and 
a proper development of his powers. 

What benevolent being, dealing with new-created minds 
committed to his care, would not feel bound to place them 
under a system of influences most favorably arranged for 
their highest good, and where all needless trials and tempt- 
ations to sin and ruin would be avoided 7 Could any man 
defend himself on any principles of benevolence, honor or 
right, if he did not act on this principle ? And when the 
great Creator is deciding on the circumstances of the 
new-created immortal minds called into being by his power, 
is it benevolent, honorable or right, for him to act on any 
other principles 7 

If, now, in opposition to these views, any allege that God, 
for his own happiness or glory, or that of his creatures, 
may act on other principles, it is enough to say, as before, 
that it is not supposable that a perfect being could be made 
happy or glorious by acting on any other principles. The 
only grounds on Avhich God, or any of his holy creatures, 
can be happy or glorious, as honorable and benevolent 
minds, in view of the ruin of any others, are those already 
stated. It must appear that God did not wrong them in 
their original constitution, but gave them a constitution 
honorably manifesting his sincere good will towards them as 
individuals, and tending towards eternal life. It must also 
appear that he did not wrong them in their situation and 
circumstances, but so placod them, that all things were, on 


the whole, as favorably arranged for all as possible. That, 
having thus placed them, he sincerely desired the highest 
good of all ; and that he set before them good and evil, — ■ 
life and death, — and demanded only faith and obedience, 
that they should live. If, in such circumstances, any dis- 
believe his word, and disregard his will and wishes, and 
perish, God is absolved, and the guilt is theirs. 

These principles are so simple and obvious, that no one 
accustomed to regard benevolence, honor and right, would 
ever have thought of calling any of them in question, had 
not certain supposed facts seemed, at times, to make it 
necessary. But, notwithstanding this, these principles have 
been seen and felt to be true. They have been also incident- 
ally, if not formally and systematically, acknowledged and 
announced, in all ages ; and towards them, in their fulness, 
the mind of man has continually struggled, in proportion as 
it has become sensitive to the nature and demands of 
benevolence, honor and right. Nor will it ever rest, short 
of this ground. Indeed, why should it? Are not these 
views in accordance with the revealed character of God 7 
Does not the Bible ascribe to him all those traits from 
which all the principles that have been stated may 1)e 
inferred ? By his own testimony, he is love. He is the 
essence of honor, generosity, magnanimity. He has no 
pleasure at all in the death of any of his creatures. He 
exceeds all his creatures in the spirit of self-sacrifice for the 
good of others. He desires all to be saved. He is merci- 
ful, gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity 
and transgression and sin. He expostulates with his sinful 
creatures, saying, " Why will ye die ? " He says, " How 
shall I give thee up 7 " He laments, saying, concerning 
the lost, " 0, that thou hadst known the things that belong 


to thy peace ! " He declares that men perish entirely by 
their own fault, and against his desires, efforts and warn- 
ings. " 0, Israel ! thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me^ 
is thy help found." It is not possible that a being whose 
feelings are such, and who makes such appeals, should act 
on any other principles than those already stated. If he 
were to give to any new-created mind a depraved natural 
constitution, disqualifying him for right action, and impel- 
ling him to sin, and then place him in circumstances of 
extreme temptation, how could he lament over him, declare 
that he had no pleasure at all in his death, entreat him not 
to die, but to turn and live, without manifest and gross 
insincerity? The fact, then, that God does, in all parts 
of the Bible, throw the entire blame of their ruin on 
men, and declares that it is contrary to his wishes, pleasure, 
and strenuous expostulations and efforts, is decisive proof 
that in all his dealings with them God has observed the 
principles of honor, right and benevolence, as they have 
been laid down. The Bible does not for a moment admit 
that men have in any respect been wronged. It always 
presents God as the injured party, and throws the whole 
responsibility of wronging him, and ruining themselves, on 

Additional authority will be conferred upon the princi- 
ples of honor and right thus set forth, if we will consult 
the inspired representation of the feelings, towards which a 
regenerate mind, under the influences of the divine Spirit, 
naturally tends. They are feelings of such deep interest 
in the welfare of others that they produce a disposition to 
forego the exercise even of our own rights, rather than to 
be the occasion of tempting them to sin. If a Christian 
could eat meat in an idol's temple, or meat that had been 
offered to an idol, without injuring his own conscience, yet, 


as a truly benevolent person, he would readily abstain from 
it, rather than to expose a weak l^rother, by the power of 
the temptation of an example which he would misunder- 
stand, to do violence to his own conscience ; and, in general, 
true benevolence will lead us not only to avoid becoming 
to others an occasion of temptation to sin, but to do all in 
our power to avert from them such temptation, from any 
quarter whatever. Even if in any case the sinner who 
yields to temptation is criminal, and without excuse, still, 
no man acting under the full influence of the Christian 
spirit will excuse himself, if he has needlessly tempted or 
provoked him to the commission of the sin. It is the spon- 
taneous impulse of a regenerate heart, in its highest 
exercises of holy love, to avert from others to the greatest 
extent temptations to sin, and to concentrate upon them 
to the highest degree influences that tend to lead them to 
holiness and eternal life. These feelings will not, indeed, 
forbid him to act on the principles of sovereignty and 
justice towards such as have forfeited their rights, wherever 
the public good demands. Nor are such feelings in God 
inconsistent with a dispensation of sovereignty and justice 
on similar grounds. But, even under such a dispensation, 
he inspires his people with a desire to do all that they can 
to avert temptations, and to save all even of those who 
have forfeited their rights, and might justly perish. 

Can it be for a moment supposed that, as these feel- 
inors increase, the Christian becomes more and more unlike 
God 7 Is it not reasonable to believe that he becomes 
more and more his image? If, then, such are the feel- 
ings of God even towards sinners, can he be satisfied, in 
his dealings with new-created minds, with anything short 
of the principles of honor and right which have been 
stated? Moreover, if, as the Christian crucifies all self- 



ish desires, and comes under the full influence of lovC; 
he, in like manner, feels more keenly the principles of 
honor and right already stated, — and this is the fact, — 
then is there not conclusive evidence that they are of 
God 7 




At this point, some of my readers are probably disposed 
to raise the inquiry, whether the preceding views of 
the intuitive decisions of the human mind as to the princi- 
ples of honor and right have been, in fact, recognized as 
true in the church of God. To such I reply, they have. 
This will be made fully to appear during the progress of 
the investigation. At present, it is enough to adduce some 
evidence on those points which are, of all others, to us the 
most immediately practical and important, — I refer to the 
demands of honor and right as to the proper constitution 
and circumstances of new-created minds. 

The evidence which I shall adduce, in order to be above 
suspicion, will be derived from those who are high in repu- 
tation for sound and orthodox views. 

It is derived from their discussions and decisions as to 
the constitution with which God made Adam, and the cir- 
cumstances in which he placed him. In these discussions, 
they were incidentally called to meet, on its real merits, 
the great question, what was due from God to a new- 
created mind, and what was a fair probation of such a mind 7 
The eminence of Turretin as a champion of orthodoxy is 
unquestioned. What, then, teaches he on these points, 


viewing them as presented to God for practical decision, in 
the case of Adam ? 

He earnestly defends the position that God could not, 
consistently with his glory, make him otherwise than with 
a good constitution, well-ordered powers, and original right- 
eousness, so that there should be in him no inclination to 
sin, no sinful propensities, and no conflict of the inferior 
against the superior powers ; but, on the other hand, the 
love of holiness and of God, and a strong and constant pro- 
pensity to all that is right. He utterly denied that God 
could consistently make man with mere natural powers, 
which, although free from positive sin, tended to sin, and 
then produce a tendency to good only by a supernatural 
influence. In opposition to this, he held that on Adam, as 
a new-created being, God ought to confer an original right- 
eousness properly belonging to his nature. Hence, in 
opposition to the theory of Bellarmin, and many of the 
scholastic divines, that original righteousness was not an 
essential part of the nature of Adam, but merely a super- 
natural gift, he says : 

" If original righteousness was supernatural^ it follows 
that it was the natural condition of Adam to be devoid of 
righteousness (or sanctity), and to be the subject of all 
those things which necessarily must exist in a person 
capable of holiness, and yet devoid of it ; as, for example, 
ignorance, inclination to vices, concupiscence of the flesh, 
rebellion of the inferior part against the superior, and other 
things of the kind, which Bellarmin calls diseases and 
weaknesses of nature. 

" But this cannot be said without ascribing 
THEM TO Him who is the author op nature, and 
■who would thus be represented as the author of 
SIN." (L. 5, Q. 11, § 9.) 


Against the same ideas he, in another place, thus argues : 
*' If there was in man any inclination to sin by na- 
ture, THEN God would be the author of it, and so 


before proved." (L. 9, Q. 7, *§> 3.) 

As to the fallen angels, he says: "There is reason to 
assert that some protracted interval of time elapsed between 
the creation of the angels, which is the work of God, and 
their revolt, which is the work of evil spirits ; otherwise, if 


Thus clearly does Turretin inculcate the great truth 
that God is bound, by principles of equity and honor, to give 
to all new-created beings original constitutions, healthy, 
well-balanced, and tending decidedly and effectually towards 
good. To make them either neutral, or with constitutions 
tending to evil, would be utterly inconsistent with the honor 
and justice of God, and would involve him in the guilt and 
dishonor of sin. What can be more absolutely unequivocal 
and decided than this ? 

To the wide reach of these fundamental principles I 
would call particular attention, as well as to their decision 
and strength. The place occupied by the work of Turretin 
in the seminary at Princeton is well known. No protest has 
ever been issued by the professors there, or by the Presbyte- 
rian church, against these views. On the other hand, it will 
soon become apparent that the Princeton divines have them- 
selves advanced similar views, and that in them they are 
sustained by the standards of their own church. 

Views similar to those of Turretin may be found strongly 
expressed in the work of Dr. Watts on the Ruin and Re- 
covery of Mankind, in r^ply to Dr. J. Taylor. In consid- 


ering what is due from the Creator to a new-created being, 
he states, at some length, that he ought to confer on him a 
perfection of natural powers, both of body and spirit, con- 
sidered as united and adapted to his present state. Even if 
they did not involve all the perfections which God can con- 
fer, or man produce by cultivation, yet, at least, they ought 
to be perfectly sufficient for his present well-being and sta- 
tion ; that his bodily powers should be in perfect order, his 
reason clear, his judgment uncorrupted, his conscience up- 
right and sensible ; that he should have no bias to sin, but a 
bias to holiness, that is, to the love of God and of man ; that 
there should be an entire subordination of the inferior to 
the superior powers, — indeed, that he should have a concre- 
ated principle of hoUness ; — in short, that he should have 
the image of God, not merely natural and political, but 
moral. He ought, he concedes, in order to a trial, still to 
have free will, so as not to be constrained to obey, and ren- 
dered incapable of sin ; but, at the same time, he should 
have a superior propensity to good, and a full sufficiency of 
power to preserve himself in a state of obedience and love 
to his Creator. In a marginal note he thus proves that 
God ought to give to a new-created mind a preponderating 
bias to holiness : 

'' If the new-made creature had not a propensity to love 
and obey God, but was in a state of mere indifference to 
good or evil, then his being put into such an union with 
flesh and blood, among a thousand temptations, would have 
been an overbalance on the side of vice. But our reason 
can never suppose that God, the wise, just and good, would 
have placed a new-made creature in such a situation." 

These statements are so clear that they need no comment. 
It is, also, a matter of great interest that they have been 
fully endorsed by John Wesley, the great founder of Meth- 


odism. When Dr. John Taylor made his great assault on 
Original Sin, Wesley, as well as Watts, came forth in its 
defence. On the points then at issue, he avowed himself as 
at one with Dr. Watts and the Calvinists ; and defended this 
position of Dr. Watts, as a self-evident truth, and pro- 
nounced the argument of Dr. Taylor against it to be utterly 
powerless and insufficient. He says : 

"This argument cannot be answered, unless it can be 
showed either, 1st, that in such a situation there would not 
have been an overbalance on the side of vice, or, 2d, that to 
place a new-made creature in a situation where there was 
such an overbalance was consistent with the wisdom, justice 
and goodness of God. But, instead of showing, or even 
attempting to show this, you feebly say, ' I do not think the 
reason of man by any means sufficient to direct God in what 
state to make moral agents. But, however Adam's propen- 
sities and temptations were balanced, he had freedom to 
choose evil as well as good.' He had. But this is no 
answer to the argument, which, like the former, remains in 
its full force. How could a wise, just and good God place 
his creature in such a state as that the scale of evil should 
preponderate 7 Although it be allowed, he is, in a measure^ 
free still, — the other scale does not '■ fly up and kick the 
beam.' " 

Here Wesley perfectly accords with Turretin, as well as 
with Watts, in holding that to make new-created beings 
either neutral, or with a preponderance towards evil, would 
be highly unjust and dishonorable in God. The scales 
ought not to be merely balanced, but the preponderance 
towards good should be decided and powerful. 

Unless these original rights had been in some way for- 
feited, Dr. Watts, also, regarded it as in the highest degree 
dishonorable in ^od ever to disregard them. 


The Princeton divines, in reality, advance similar views, 
although not as openly, and with as much fulness and 
strength, as Turretin, Watts and Wesley. First, they 
decide that to every new-created being a probation is due. 
"Isut not necessary," they say, "that a moral being shall 
have a probation before his fate is decided 7 " Again; they 
state what is essential to a fair probation. " A probation, 
to be FAIR, must afford as favorable a prospect of a happy 
as of an unhappy conclusion." Their ideas, however, of 
what is involved in such a ftiir probation, though not fully 
stated, may be clearly inferred from the fact that they refer 
to the probation of our first parents as a fair one. Their 
views of the moral constitution necessary for such a proba- 
tion are, no doubt, in accordance with the decision of the 
standards of their own church, as expressed in the following 
words of the larger catechism : '' God endued them with 
living, reasonable and immortal souls, made them after his 
own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, hav- 
ing the law of God written in their hearts, and power to 
fulfil it, with dominion over the creatures, yet subject to 
fall." (Larger Catechism, Q. 17.) This, then, is the 
essential basis of a fair probation. The statement of the 
Confession of Faith is, in essence, the same, except that it 
gives a more expanded view of the state of the will of our 
first parents, asserting that they " were under a possibility 
of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, 
which was subject unto change." (Chap. IV. § 2.) 

These statements, it is plain, involve, in our first parents, 
as the essential basis of a fair probation, a good original 
constitution, well-proportioned powers, and a decided and 
powerful bias to good, resulting, at first, in actual and per- 
fect obedience to the law of God. 

Satisfactory as is this implication of the yiews of the 


Princeton divines, yet they are exhibited still more clearly 
by their statements with respect to an original bias to evil. 
They teach us that it is the greatest of all calamities, and 
that it is utterly inconsistent with the existence of a fair 
and honorable probation. 

"What greater evil for moral and immortal beings can 
there be," say they, " than to be born contaminated in 
their moral nature, or under a divine constitution which 
secures the universality and certainty of sin, and that, too, 
with undeviating and remorseless eifect? It is, as Cole- 
ridge well says, ' an outrage on common sense ' to affirm that 
it is no evil for men to be placed, on their probation, under 
such circumstances that not one of ten thousand millions 
ever escaped sin and condemnation to eternal death." On 
these grounds they elsewhere assert that men, if they have 
had no other or better probation than is involved in such a 
state of things, have, in reality, had no probation at all. 
Such a view, Prof. Hodge assures us, "represents the race 
as being involved in ruin and condemnation, without having 
the slightest probation." (Com. on Rom., p. 227, 1st ed.) 
The Princeton reviewers, as we have seen, have decided 
that "a probation, to be fair, must aiford as favorable a 
prospect of a happy as of an unhappy conclusion." Ac- 
cordingly, as consistency requires, immediately after, in 
view of the supposition " that men are brought up to their 
trial under a divine constitution which secures the certainty 
of their sinning," they ask, with great emphasis, " Is this a 
fair trial? " (Theol. Ess., vol. i. p. 159.) 

In the preceding statements of Turretin, Watts, the 
Westminster divines, and the Princeton divines, is involved 
all that I have claimed on this point, in my expose of the 
principles of honor and right. Indeed, the strength of their 
Btatements rather exceeds my own. 


I shall not at this time add any further evidence that the 
£)rinciples which I have stated have been generally recog- 
nized as true by the church of God. At a subsequent time 
I shall resume the subject, and prove that the Reformers, 
as well as Augustine and other distinguished champions of 
orthodoxy, from age to age. have advanced as self-evident 
similar views as to the demands of the principles of honor 
and right upon the great Creator, with reference to new- 
created minds. 

It would have been easy, instead of going into so much 
detail in proof of my positions, simply to have referred, in a 
general way, to Augustine, the Reformers, the Puritans, 
and their consistent and exact followers, as holdino; the views 
which have been set forth concerning the obhgations of God 
to new-created minds. But, though the reference would 
have been well founded, it would have excited less attention, 
and awakened less interest. 

It was not, however, for the public good that the thing 
should be thus lightly passed over. It has been the great 
evil of other ages that principles like these, although avowed, 
have not been consistently carried out. They need to be 
exalted, made prominent, and insisted on. If true at all, 
they are to all created beings the most fundamental and 
most momentous truths in the universe of God. They are 
like a full-orbed sun, in the centre of all created existence. 
No system can be truly seen but in their light. No system 
can be true which really contravenes tnem. For God is 
all glorious, all holy, all just, all honorable, all good. He 
cannot but observe the true principles of honor and of right. 
For, though he often dwelleth in the thick darkness, and 
deep clouds are his pavilion, yet now and evermore right- 
eousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. 

Thus has one of the great moving powers of Christianity 


been developed and set forth. It is now necessary to set 
forth the other, as it has been stated by those held in the 
highest reputation as the true friends and defenders of the 
gospel. I refer to the great Keformers of the sixteenth 
century, and to those who glory in being deemed their true 



In order to present the conflict which is under considera« 
tion in its full strength, it is necessary to place in contrast 
"with the principles of honor and right which have been 
developed the most radical view which has been extensively 
given of the fallen and ruined condition of man. 

But, before doing this, it is expedient to prepare the way 
by a brief statement of some conceded facts, by which, even 
independently of the testimony of the Bible, the necessity 
of some such radical view is made apparent. The facts in 
question lie upon the surface of the history of this world, 
and are witnessed to by the observation and experience of all 
men. They are by no means such as our recent survey of 
the principles of honor and right would have led us to 
expect. For, if the demands of these principles on God, 
with reference to new-created minds, are such as have been 
stated, we ought a priori to expect to find in this world a 
race whose moral constitutions, powers and tendencies, should 
correspond with the principles which have been laid down, 
and whose history should illustrate and prove the existence 
of strong and predominant tendencies to good. We ought 
to expect that, although some mighty through an abuse of 
freedom, fall into sin, the greater part would lead holy and 
perfect lives. That harmony, unity, brotherly love, pure 
morality, and an intelligent and devoted love of God, would 


Characterize the great majority of men, giving a holy and 
lovely character alike to individuals and to communities. 
That pride, malice, envy, falsehood, contentions and wars, 
•would be regarded as str^mge and painful anomalies in the 
history of this world. 

It is needless to say that such anticipations, if formed by 
a visitor to this world, ignorant of its real history, would 
soon be dissipated by a painful view of the stern realities of 
actual human life. The word of God, the consciousness of 
every Christian, and the dark records of vice and crime, ot 
jfraud and violence, of war and slavery, of remorse and woe 
which fill the history of this world, too clearly and painfully 
testify that such ideal conceptions of human excellence must 
be regarded as nothing but the baseless fabric of a vision. 

Indeed, so plain are the mournful realities, that the most 
eminent Unitarian divines do not hesitate to state them with 
an eloquence and power which cannot be resisted. That I 
may avoid even the appearance of exaggeration, I will state 
the facts in the words of such men as President Sparks, 
Professor Norton, Dr. Burnap, and Dr. Dewey. I will, 
moreover, take their statements from works designed to 
oppose the Calvinistic doctrine of depravity, that it may be 
the more evident how clear and undoubted are the real 
facts which exhibit the actual depravity of man. Dr. G. W. 
Burnap, of Baltimore, in an able work, designed to evince 
the rectitude of human nature, in opposition to the Calvin- 
istic doctrine of depravity, does not hesitate to make the fol- 
towing clear and decided statement as to actual depravity : 

'' The sinfulness of mankind no man in his senses has 
ever pretended to deny. ' No man liveth, and sinneth not.' 
No human being, with the exception of the Saviour, has 
ever lived long enough to develop the moral nature, without 
being conscious of having done wrong. 


^' The sinfulness of mankind lias been demonstrated by 
the prevalence of iDa?^s, since the first recorded history of 
our race. War transforms a human being into a fiend, and 
leads to the commission of every crime, and is itself the 
greatest of all crimes. The number of people who have 
perished in war is, perhaps, ten times as great as now exists 
on earth. The quantity of property consumed and destroyed 
in war is, not unlikely, more than a hundred times as much 
as all mankind now possess. 

" The sinfulness of mankind has been demonstrated by 
the fearful amount of sensuality that has existed. The 
world has always been filled with the wretched victims of 
intemperance. It may safely be said, that most of the dis- 
eases which have afflicted mankind, and shortened human 
life, have been produced by the unlawful or excessive 
indulgence of the appetites. 

''The sinfulness of mankind has been demonstrated by 
the social unkindness that has always prevailed, the cruel 
abuse of power which has reigned since the beginning of 
time, so pathetically described in the book from which our 
text is taken. ' So I returned and considered all the op- 
pressloiis that are done under the sun ; and, behold, the 
tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter, 
and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but 
they had no comforter.' So much was the author's sensi- 
bility shocked and his pity moved, that he ' praised the 
dead which are already dead more than the living which are 
yet alive,' and thought it was better never to have been 
born than to have an existence in a world so full of 

"The sinfulness of mankind is demonstrated by the exist- 
ence of laivs and courts and prisons and piinisJunents. 
Their very purpose is to restrain man from sin, and iQ 


defend one man from the injustice of another. The evi- 
dences of man's sinfulness meet us at every turn, in the 
anger we witness, in the profaneness we hear, in the theft 
against which we bar our doors, in the confcagr^ations we 
behold by night hghted up by the incendiary's torch, in the 
wretched outcasts whom vice has driven forth to die of 
misery and want. Such are the overwhelming and unde- 
niable evidences of the sinfulness of mankind." 

Dr. Sparks, also, in his Letters to Dr. Miller, in opposi- 
tion to Calvinism, — a work of decided ability, — says, with 
reference to Unitarian divines, " They preach that all men 
are depraved, deeply depraved^ and sinners in the sight of 
God, — not by the will and appointment of their Creator, 
but by their own choice, their neglect of duty, and their 
obstinate disobedience. There is no theme, in fiict, on 
which Unitarian preachers dwell more than on the moral 
depravity of man. This is the moral disease which they 
believe the religion of Jesus was intended to heal." (p. 

The testimony of Prof. Norton to the facts of the case is 
still more ample and unequivocal. In an article entitled 
" Views of Calvinism," containing an argument of great 
vigor against that system, he says: " If we look abroad, 
beyond the confines of Christianity, to the past history and 
present state of the world, we shall find that it is on the 
subject of religion that the most portentous and pernicious 
errors have prevailed, — errors of superstition and errors of 
virtual atheism, — on the one hand, conceptions of the spir- 
itual world disastrously false, and, on the other, an abnega- 
tion of all but Avhat is present and material." These state- 
ments he confirms by a reference to Buddhism, " the mon- 
strous mythology and. all-pervading superstitions of the 
Hindoos," the systems of Mahomet and Confucius, and 


finally a great miscellaneous multitude of various supersti- 
tions and idolatries, into whicli any proper religious belief 
or sentiment rarely enters. Of the followers of these 
" most portentous and pernicious errors " he says : " These 
classes constitute a great majority of mankind." (p. 209.) 

He then turns to the Romish and the Greek churches, 
and finds in them by far the greater part of those numbered 
as Christians. Concerning them, he says: "Intelligent 
Protestants regard the doctrines of either church as a mass 
of gross errors, accumulated and consolidated during centu- 
ries of ignorance and superstition." (p. 210.) 

Passing from these to the Protestants, he represents the 
great majority of them as holding a system at war with 
reason and the character of God, — a system which it is his 
main purpose, in two articles, to represent as pernicious in 
a high degree, yea, as even a system of blasphemy. (p. 

As to the moral condition of Christendom, he uses the 
followino; lancruacre : 

" Are we to conclude that it is the part of a wise man to 
turn away his eyes from the moral and religious ignorance, 
the debasement and annihilation of intellect, which exist in 
the Christian world ? Should we look with philosophical in- 
diiference on the vices and selfishness which spread through 
all classes of society, on the physical and moral wretched- 
ness of the poor and the crimes which it generates, on op- 
pression and tyranny, and the maddening passions which 
they are exasperating? Should we regard these things as 
the necessary condition of humanity?" 

"With regard to the actual intiuence exerted even on 
Christian communities by the simple, sublime and practical 
principles of Christianity, he uses the following unequivocal 
language : 


'•Is it impossible to render the practical operation of 
these truths more general and effective? Is it impossible, 
when religion joins her voice to that which experience has 
been so long uttering, to make men believe and feel, at 
last, that their duty and their interest are the same ; that 
the laws of God are but directions which he has given us, 
in his infinite vfisdom and mercy, for attaining our highest 
happiness ; that it is better to be just and benevolent, hon- 
ored and beloved, than to be selfish, unjust and cruel, 
despised, distrusted and hated ; that it is unwise to sacri- 
fice a great future good to a present indulgence, which 
leaves behind it dissatisfaction and repentance ; and that he 
who submits the moral part of his nature to the animal is 
degrading himself, and destroying his best capacities for 
enjoyment 7 Is it impossible that the generality of men in 
a Christian land should be brought to act as if they really 
believed these truths, and truths such as these ? Whether 
it be so or not, yet remains to be determined. The experi- 
ment has never been made." 

Of course, the moral state of the heathen world is still 

To complete the dark picture, and to take away all excuse 
for this state of things, he informs us that the reason 
of these mournful results is not that the truths of Chris- 
tianity are obscure, or beyond the comprehension of the 
masses of mankind : 

" Are the truths for which v/e contend intrinsically diffi- 
cult to be understood 7 They are not so. They are as 
simple and intelligible as they are sublime. The prospect 
which true religion opens to the mind has a beautiful and 
solemn grandeur, to which that of the visible heavens affords 
but a faint comparison ; but it is with one as with the other, 
— we need not tra^vel far, nor search for our point of view. 


in order to behold all that is given us to see of the moral or 
of the physical universe." 

Such, then, according to Professor Norton, is the present 
wide-spread moral depravity and degradation of the human 
race, after all that God has done by the light of nature, by 
his providence, by revelation, and by the various and power- 
ful means of grace, to sanctify and elevate individuals and 
society ; moreover, no one will pretend that the state of 
things has been any better for six thousand years past. 

Indeed, if all that Professor Norton says in the preceding 
passages concerning Protestant communities were true, I do 
not see how to avoid the conclusion that the picture Avhich 
he gives of the prevalence and power of error and actual 
depravity in the world is darker even than that given by 
the Calvinists, whose doctrine of depravity he opposes. 
Truly, if these views are correct, the words of our Saviour, 
" Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto 
life, and few there be that find it," are true to an extent far 
beyond what we had supposed. But we regard this part of 
the picture as too deeply colored. In many portions of 
the Protestant world the true gospel has exerted great 
power in producing, love, faith, self-denial, benevolent en- 
terprise, and a holy life. With this exception, we admit 
the correctness of the picture ; and, if it is correct, then 
how deep and dark are the shades of error and sin which 
rest upon and brood over this unhappy world ! 

The testimony of Dr. Dewey is no less unequivocal and 
..-lecided. In a professed and formal statement of the 
[Jnitarian belief, elaborately finished, he thus speaks : 

" We believe in human depravity ; and a very serious 
and saddening belief it is, too, that we hold on this point. 
We believe in the very great depravity of mankind, — in the 
exceeding depravation of human nature. We believe that 


'the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately 
wicked.' We believe all that is meant when it is said of 
the world in the time of Noah that ' all the imaginations 
of men, and all the thoughts of their hearts, were evil, and 
only evil continually.' We believe all that Paul meant when 
he said, speaking of the general character of the heathen 
world in his time, ' There is none that is righteous, no, not 
one ; there is none that understandeth, there is none that 
seeketh after God ; they have all gone out of the way, there 
is none that doeth good, or is a doer of good, no, not one ; 
with their tongues they use deceit, and the poison of asps is 
under their lips ; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitter- 
ness ; and the way of peace have they not known, and there 
is no fear of God before their eyes.' We believe that this 
was not intended to be taken without qualifications, for Paul, 
as we shall soon have occasion to observe, made qualifica- 
tions. It was true in the general. But it is not the 
ancient heathen world alone that we regard as filled with 
evil. We believe that the world now, taken in the mass, is 
a very, a very bad world ; that the sinfulness of the world 
is dreadful and horrible to consider ; that the nations ought 
to be covered with aackcloth and mourning for it ; that they 
are filled with misery by it. Why, can any man look 
abroad upon the countless miseries inflicted by selfishness, 
dishonesty, slander, strife, war ; upon the boundless woes 
of intemperance, libertinism, gambling, crime ; can any 
man look upon all this, with the thousand minor diversities 
and shadings of guilt and guilty sorrow, and feel that he 
could write any less dreadful sentence against the world than 
Paul has written ? Not believe in human depravity, — great, 
general, dreadful depravity ! Why. a man must be a fool, 
nay, a stock, or a stone, not to believe in it ! He has no 
eyes, he has no senses, he has no perceptions, if he refuses 


to believe in it ! " (Controversial Discourses, pp. IG— 18.) 
What can be more explicit than this testimony to the deep 
and general depravity of our race ? 

It ought, hov^ever, to be distinctly stated that Dr. Dewey, 
and, indeed, all the writers whom I have quoted, earnestly 
repudiate the idea that this development of sin implies in 
man a sinful nature in the obvious and literal sense of 
those vrords. They regard such an idea as highly dishonor- 
able to God, and as diminishing, or even anniliilating, the 
criminality of sin ; nor, as we are informed by Dr. Dewey, 
do they profess to believe ' ' in what is technically called 
total depravity.''^ The origin of sin they ascribe to the 
perversion of free agency by hmited, imperfect beings, in a 
world of temptation, bodily and mental. 

There is, nevertheless, in this world an extent, a power, 
a preponderance and a stubbornness of sin, for which a 
solution so simple and obvious does not seem to account. 
This was felt and conceded, even by Dr. Dewey. Accord- 
ingly, while insisting that the origin of sin is plain, he says, 
*'The extent to which these evils go is, doubtless, a problem 
that I cannot solve. There are shadows upon the world 
that we cannot penetrate ; masses of sin and misery that 
overwhelm us with wonder and awe." 

This very impressive and affecting statement of Dr. 
Dewey will now prepare us to see why there are so many 
who cannot rest content in tlie solution which he, and others 
of the same school, give of the origin of this state of 
things. ^The extent and the power of evil in this world are 
so great, even as conceded by Unitarians, that they cannot 
find an adequate solution of them in the mere free agency 
and temptation of uncorrupted minds. The facts stated 
are so unlike the action of upright and undepraved minds, 
that they at once suggest the idea that, in some way, tho 


human race has come into a fallen and ruined state, eyes, 
before action. Certainly the dark and mournful facts which 
have been stated are not like the action of minds possessing 
a sound moral constitution, -well-balanced powers, and pre- 
dominating tendencies to holiness and truth. 

Nor, in view of such facts, ought it to be deemed won- 
derful if efforts should be made to find a deeper and more 
radical cause for results so calamitous and so strange. The 
most thorough of these efforts I shall now proceed to con- 
sider. I shall show, moreover, that the impulse to the 
effort is in the highest degree honorable, even if it does 
happen to involve those who make it in a conflict with those 
principles of honor and right which they themselves avow 
and defend. 



It is a principle of common sense, and will, at least in 
theory, be conceded by all, that, before the moral diseases 
of man can be thoroughly healed, their true nature, power 
and depth, must be understood. Moreover, in order to save 
him from the evils and perils of his present state, it ought 
to be fully known what those evils and perils are. If he 
has enemies, visible or invisible, it ought to be known who 
they are, and what is their power. 

Under the influence of these convictions a large class of 
benevolent Christian minds have acted, in all ages. They 
have felt that the purest benevolence which can be exercised 
towards man demands the most full and faithful statement 
of his fallen and ruined condition as a sinner, however dark 
the views which may be thus presented. Those who have 
presented such views have commonly been men of deep 
Christian experience, like Augustine, the Reformers, the 
Puritans, and Edwards. To such men the deep depravity 
of their own hearts is not merely a matter of doctrinal 
theory, but of profound experimental knowledge. To every 
statement of .the Word of God, even the most humiliating, 
there is an unhesitating response within. Moreover, upon 
this deep inward knowledge of their fallen state is based, in 
their judgment, that whole work of new creation in right- 
eousness of which they are no less conscious. In all cases, 


the knowledge of the first is regarded as the measure of the 
progress of the second. 

Hence, the predominating influence under which they 
ever act is a desire of thoroughness in disclosing the 
ruined state of man before he is renovated by the grace of 
God. Fearful of healing slightly the wounds of the people 
of God, they have earnestly sought to probe them to their 
deepest recesses. Believing the heart to be deceitful above 
all things and desperately wicked, they have felt that the 
danger was very great of being deceived by superficial 
views of the nature and extent of sin. Knowing that none 
but God can thoroughly search the heart, they have besought 
him clearly to reveal to them its depths of evil. When 
God, as they believe, in answer to such prayers, and 
through his word, providences and spirit, has given to such 
a full and experimental development of w^hat they have 
sought, it has led them to insist much on three leading 
points, as all involved in a full view of the fallen and 
ruined condition of man. 

1. His deep innate depravity as an individual. 

2. His subjection to the power of depraved social organ- 
izations, called, taken collectively, the world. 

3. His subjection to the power of unseen malignant 
spirits, who are centralized and controlled by Satan, their 
leader and head. 

In considering the first point, they have not rested content 
with the mere fact that all men actually sin from the com- 
mencement of moral agency, but have sought to penetrate 
deeper, and to find in the antecedent nature of man a suffi- 
cient cause for this- sad result, so uniform, yet so unreason- 
able. The consequence has been a very general belief of a 
properly depraved nature in man anterior to action of any 
kind. They have conceited of the human mind as a kind 


of seed-plot of sin, so to say, in which the seeds and germs 
and roots of sin were thick sown, and needed only exposure 
to the influence of the atmosphere and warmth of active hfe 
to cause them to germinate, spring up, and bear fruit. 

The highest statements on these points Avere undoubtedly 
made by the Reformers and their immediate followers, in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In their oppo- 
sition to what they regarded the Pelagian tendencies of the 
Romish church, they transcended even the statements of 
Augustine, in some points. I refer, in particular, to their 
doctrine concerning the sinfulness of concupiscence (that is, 
propensity to sin) after baptism, and the predestination of 
the fall of Adam. In the Reformers, then, we shall find a 
sincere effort to make the most full and thorough develop- 
ment of the doctrine of human depravity that was possible, 
and from motives the most honorable and benevolent. 

Let my readers, even if any of them reject the opinions of 
these men as stated, at least do them the justice to endeavor, 
for a time, to look at the system from their point of vision. 
Let them regard the numerous Christian experiences of 
such men as I have described — men of the highest mental 
power, and of clear discrimination — as at least intellectual 
phenomena worthy of study, and consideration, and com- 
prehension. Nor let any one feel an illiberal repulsion from 
an honest effort to give a thorough statement of the reality 
and depth of the moral diseases of the human heart. 

Moreover, if many of the facts as staged are, in reality, 
at war with the principles of honor and right, as I concede 
them to be, let them not rashly conclude that no adjustment 
of the system is possible by which the facts can be retained 
and that conflict can be removed. 

But let us hear them speak for themselves. Calvin thus 
defines original sin : It is "a hereditary depravity and 


corruption of our nature, diffused through all parts of thti 
soul, which, in the first place, exposes us to the wrath of 
God, and then produces in us those works which the Scrip- 
ture calls the works of the flesh." (Inst. ii. 1, 8.) Of 
infants he says, "They bring their condemnation with 
them from then' mother's womb, being liable to punishment, 
not for the sin of another, but for their own. For, although 
they have not as yet produced the fruits of their iniquity, 
yet they have the seed enclosed in themselves ; nay, their 
whole nature is, as it were, a seed of sin; therefore it can- 
not but be odious and abominable to God. Whence it fol- 
lows that it is properly considered sin before God, because 
there could not be liability to punishment without sin." 
(Inst. II. 1, 8.) He also states, in general, that the coi^- 
ruption of nature precedes and gives rise to all sinful acts, 
and is itself deserving of punishment. "Two things 
deserve distinct notice : first, that since we are so vitiated 
and depraved in all parts of our nature, we are justly con- 
victed and condemned before God, to whom nothing is 
accepted but justice, innocence, purity, =^' * ^ * 
Second, that this depravity never ceases to produce new 
fruits, — that is. those works of the flesh before alluded to, 
— just as a kindled furnace incessantly emits flame and 
sparks, or a fountain constantly sends forth water." (Inst. 
II. 1, 8.) 

He also contrasts actual sins, and indeed corrupt habits, 
with a depravity of nature, and, in reference to Rom. 3 : 
10 — 18, says, "Men are not such as are here described 
merely through sinful habits, but also by a depravity of 
nature." (Inst., ii. 3, 2.) 

Calvin introduces this view of the ruined condition of 
man by a statement of his motives. He regarded it as the 
chief wile of Satan, "by concealing from man a knowledge 


of his disease, to render it incurable." In opposition to 
this, he aims to produce a knowledge of our miserable con- 
dition, that shall cause earnest desires and efforts after a 
true and thorough remedy. He plainly asserts, in doing 
this, that, anterior to all actual sin, there is in man a depraved 
nature, by which he is exposed to the just anger of God, 
and from which a constant stream of actual sins proceeds. 
Let us, for the present, look at this statement merely as an 
effort at depth and thoroughness. As such, we cannot deny 
that it is radical and fundamental. 

Erom the following quotations, taken from public form- 
ularies, it will be seen that the leading churches of the 
Reformers took substantially the same views, and, no doubt, 
for the same reasons. 

The Synod of Dort assert that all men become depraved 
through "the propagation of a vicious nature;''' and after 
this thus proceed, "Therefore, all men are conceived in 
sin, and born the children of wrath, disqualified for all 
saving good, prepense to evil, dead in sins, and the slaves 
of sin ; and, without the grace of the regenerating Holy 
Spirit, they neither are willing nor able to return to God, 
to correct their depraved nature^ or to dispose themselves 
to the correction of it." (Scott's Synod of Dort. Chaps. 
III. k IV. §§ 2, 3.) 

In the latter confession of Helvetia this language is used : 
"We take sin to be that natural corruption of man de- 
rived or spread from those our parents unto us all ; through 
which, we being di'owned in evil concupiscences, and clean 
turned away from God, but prone to all evil, full of all wicked- 
ness, distrust, contempt, and hatred of God, can do no good of 
ourselves, — no, not so much as think of any." (Harmony 
of Confessions, p. 163.) 

The confession of Bohemia, or the Waldenses, says of 


original sin, that it is '' naturally engendered in us and 
hereditary, wherein we are all conceived and born into this 
world." * * "Let the force of this hereditary destruc- 
tion be acknowledged and judged of by the guilt and fault 
involved, by our pr oneness and declination to evil, hy our 
evil nature^ and by the punishment which is laid upon 
it." (Har., p. 169.) Of actual sins, they say they are 
"the fruits of original sin, and do burst out within, with- 
out, privily and openly, by the powers of man ; that is, 
by all that ever man is able to do, and by his members, 
transgressing all those things which God commandeth and 
forbiddeth, and also running into blindness and errors, 
worthy to be punished with all kinds of damnation." They 
declare that these things ought to be earnestly insisted on, 
that men " may know themselves, that they are conceived 
and born in sin, and that forthwith, even from their birth 
and by nature, they are sinners, full of lusts and evil inclin- 

The French confession says of man : " His nature is 
become altogether defiled, and, being blind in spirit and cor- 
rupt in heart, hath utterly lost all his original integrity." 
* * ^ * ''We believe that all the oifspring of Adam 
are infected with this contagion, which we call original sin ; 
that is, a stain spreading itself by propagation, and not by 
imitation only, as the Pelagians thought, — all whose errors 
we do detest." * * * "We believe that this stain is 
indeed sin, because that it maketh every man (not so much 
as those little ones excepted, which as yet lie hid in their 
mother's womb) deserving of eternal death before God. 
We also affirm that this stain, even after baptism, is in 
nature sin." =* * ^ (On this point, the Reformers 
contradict Augustine.) " Moreover, we say that this fro- 
wardness of nature doth always bring forth some fruits of 


malice and rebellion, in such sort that even they which are 
most holy, although they resist it, yet are they defiled 
with many infirmities and offences, so long as they live in 
this world." (Harmony, pp. 172-3.) 

The Church of England, in her thirty-nine articles, says : 
'' Original sin is the fault and corruption of the nature 
of every man that is naturally engendered of the offspring 
of Adam." * * "In every person born into this world. 
it deserveth God's wrath and damnation." (Har., p. 173.) 

In the confession of Belgia it is said : " We believe that 
throuofh the disobedience of Adam the sin that is called 
original hath been spread and poured into all mankind. 
Now, original sin is a corruption of the lohole nature^ and 
an hereditary evil, wherewith even the very infants in their 
mother's womb are polluted; the which, also, as a most 
noisome root, doth branch out most abundantly all kinds of 
sin in man, and is so filthy and abominable in the sight of 
God that it alone is sufficient to the condemnation of all 
mankind." (Har., p. 175.) It is added, " Out of it, as 
out of a corrupt fountain, continual floods and rivers of 
iniquity do daily flow." 

The authors of the confession of Augsburg say : "We 
mean, by original sin, that which the holy fathers and all 
of sound judgment and learning in the church do so call, 
namely, that guilt whereby all that come into the world 
are, through Adarn'^ fall, subject to God's wrath, and eter- 
nal death, and that very corruption of magi's nature 
derived from Adam." (In this definition they include 
what is called original sin imputed^ as well as original sin 
inherent.) They define this corruption of nature as 
involving want of all forms of original righteousness and 
concupiscence, and then add, " Wherefore, those defects 
and this concupiscence are things damnable, and, of their 


own nature, worthy of death. And this original blot is sin 
indeed, condemning and bringing eternal death even now, 
also, upon all them which M^e not born again bj baptism 
and the Holy Ghost." (Har., p. 176.) 

The Moravian confession declares, '• This innate disease 
and original sin, is truly sin, and condemns under God's 
eternal wrath all those who are not born again through 
water and the Holy Ghost." (Har., p. 178.) 

The Westminster divines teach that "J. co?^rupted 
nature was conveyed from our first parents to all their pos- 
terity. From this original corruption, whereby we are 
utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, 
and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual trans- 
gressions." Concerning this corruption of nature, they say 
that " both itself and all the motions thereof are truly 
and properly sin." To this they add, " Every sin, both 
original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous 
law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, 
bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to 
the wrath of God and curse of the law, and so made sub- 
ject to death, with all miseries, spiritual, temporal and 
eternal." (Har., pp. 179, 180.) 

It is not my purpose at this time to enter into a full dis- 
cussion of the precise import of all this language of the 
Reformers. It is, however, no more than equitable to guard 
it against a misunderstanding to which it is liable. It has 
sometimes been interpreted as if they meant to teach that 
the substance or essence of man, of which God is the 
creator, is itself sinful or sin. This idea was in fact 
advanced by Flaccus Illyricus in his controversy with Vic- 
lorinus Strigelius, and was also defended by Spangenberg. 
Moehler also resrards this as the loo^ical result of the 
original statements of Luther and his followers on original 


*.fi. But whether it is so or not, one thing is undeniable^ 
that the Reformers always disclaimed it as a part of their 

A labored refutation of this error may be found in 
Turretin (Loc. 9, Quaes. 11). They held, he assures us, 
that the essence or substance of man, so far as created by 
God, was in itself negatively good; but, nevertheless, it 
was, in their view, devoid of original righteousness, and dis- 
ordered by original sin as a moral disease^ perverting the 
action of all the faculties. As the substance of the body is 
not itself disease, but is perverted and disordered in its 
action by disease, so the substance of the body and soul is 
not sin, but is perverted and disordered in its action by 
original sin. Moreover, Turretin defines original sin as 
neither an act nor as the substance of the soul, but as an 
'' innate vicious habit." It is so called because it is a state 
of the body and soul predisposing to wrong action, just as 
acquired habits predispose to various modes of action. Of 
this he says, "It is compared to a disease, and is not 
merely a want of righteousness, but also a positive corrup- 
tion, which introduces a universal derangement of nature 
and all its faculties, and is commonly described as involving 
folly, blindness and ignorance in the intellect, malice, con- 
tumacy and rebellion in the will, insubordination or want 
of . sensibility in the affections, so that man becomes not 
only averse from good, but also prone to all evil." 

This original sin, however, though not consisting in 
action, but preceding all knowledge and action, they 
regarded as criminal, and punishable to such a degree as to 
be a proper justification of eternal punishments, even in the 
case of unborn infants, as is distinctly stated in the French 

Such is a brief vie^v of the depravity of man as an indi- 


vidual, which has been believed by some of the most devoted 
and experimental Christians whom this world has ever seen. 
In all of these statements it is apparent that they have 
benevolently aimed at the great end before mentioned, — that 
is, to give a thorough and radical view of the fallen and 
ruined condition of man, so as to dissipate all the delusions 
of pride and self-confidence, and to prepare the way for a 
cure no less radical and thorough. They felt that the 
strength and obstinacy of their own inherent depravity was 
so great, and its resistance of all means of thorough cure 
so long-continued, that it must have its roots lower than 
any act of conscious choice, even in a depraved nature. 
So also the power of depravity, as developed in the history 
of the world was so great, both in resisting and rendering 
vain divine means and influences adapted to reform it, and 
in plunging man headlong into all depths of sin in its vilest 
forms, that they could not rest satisfied with a mere state- 
ment of the fact that men do voluntarily sin from the 
commencement of moral agency, but descended into the 
depths of a nature utterly depraved, anterior to all individ- 
ual, personal action, for a cause permanent and powerful 
enough to produce such results. 

To illustrate their ideas of the activity and of the power 
of this depraved nature, they resort to the most striking 
material analogies. It is like a glowing furnace, constantly 
emitting flames and sparks ; a fountain sending out polluted 
streams. It is a seed or seed-plot of sin. Original sin, 
by which it is thus corrupted, is a stain or infection per- 
vading all the powers of the soul. It is a noisome root, 
out of which do spring most abundantly all kinds of sin. 
They do not regard it as merely a propensity to sin, Avhich 
is not of itself sinful, but assert emphatically that it is 
truly and properly sin, and exposes those in whom it is, 


even before they have acted at all, to the wrath of God and 
eternal death. 

In coming to these results, they turned the clear gaze of 
their minds away, for a time, from other considerations, and 
regarded intently what they knew of human depravity by 
experience, by history, and by the word of God, and sought 
to lay a foundation deep enough to sustain a doctrine that 
should come up to the fearful reahties of the case. Nor 
does their language convey an idea at all too strong of 
the fearful power of the actual developments of human 
depravity in the history of this world, — even as stated by 
Unitarians, — or of the great truth, that there must be in 
man some adequate cause, before action, of a course of 
action so universal, so powerful, so contrary to right, to 
the natural laws of all created minds, and to his own 
highest interests. 

But the question whether their statements are not liable 
to serious and unanswerable objections, so long as the 
moving powers of Christianity are adjusted as they are at 
present; will more properly come up for consideration here- 



We have seen how full are the statements of Turretin 
Dr. Watts, John Wesley, and others, against the idea that 
a new-created being should be so made, or so circumstanced, 
that there should be an original bias or preponderance 
towards sin and ruin. If a new-created being has a sinful 
or morally deteriorated nature, there would seem to be, on 
these principles, the greater reason for not exposing him t^ 
the additional influence of circumstances tending to develop, 
strengthen and mature, his sinful propensities. We need, 
then, in order to judge of the conflict between principles, 
and facts, to consider the circumstances of man, as well as 
his nature and original propensities. If we stop short of 
this, we shall not adequately conceive the power of those 
causes, various and united, that tend to the ruin of man, 
as conceived by those who entertain the views under con- 
sideration. We see only the power of his personal depravity 
as an individual, and his weakness to resist allurements to 
sin. We ought, then, in order to complete these views, 
next to consider the fact, that, being thus depraved, man 
is subjected from his birth to the power of other sinful 
minds, united in depraved social arrangements and organ- 
izations, called, collectively, the world. 

In the heathen world, and in sinful families of Christian 


nations, this subjugation to the power of evil social organi- 
zations begins from the time of birth. All the pollutions 
of idolatry, all the evil passions, actions and examples, of 
sinful parents, surround the child from his birth upward, 
and form the moral atmosphere in which he lives. 

' ' Superstitions exist that are the growth of ages ; and 
idolatries that seem to have been adapted, with consummate 
address, to meet all that depraved nature craves ; and these 
are so in^vrought with the fabric of society as to make an 
integral part of every one of its institutions, and thus every 
earthly interest seems to demand that things should remain 
as they are." 

On this subject Dr. Bumap has thus spoken, with great 
truth and eloquence : 

" Society, from the same causes, is as capable of becom- 
mcr vitiated as the individual, with this more calamitous 
consequence, that it reacts upon the individual, to make him 
more depraved than he could have become had he stood 
alone. Not only so, but the vices of society are more 
enduring than those of the individual. The vices of the 
individual die with him, but the vices of society are per- 
petuated from generation to generation." =^- * ^ * 

"Under an arbitrary or a tyrannical government, all 
motives to a virtuous life are greatly weakened. Virtue^ 
has no reward, and vice is safe so long as it has the means 
to bribe the hand of justice. 

" It is in vain to expect any high degree of moral attain- 
ment under a bad government. Take, as an example, the 
Ottoman empire. It occupies some of the fairest portions 
of the globe. But the very manner in which the govern- 
ment is administered corrupts and ruins everything. The 
whole organization of the state is nothing more nor less 
than a vast machine for extortion and robbery. The suc- 


cessive governors of the different provinces are generally 
court favorites, or mere adventurers, whose only hope of 
wealth and distinction is the favor of their sovereign, result- 
ing in the opportunity of plundering, for a few years, one of 
the provinces of the empire. With this understanding, the 
sycophant takes possession of his government, and under the 
pretence of taxation, which he levies at his own discretion, 
the best citizens are sure to suffer the worst spoliation. The 
very appearance of thrift and wealth is dangerous, and all 
motive to industry and economy, to good morals and good 
management, is taken away. Those who are plundered seek 
first a refuge in hypocrisy and deception ; or, having lost 
all, become the robbers and oppressors of those who are 
more defenceless than themselves. 

" Can it be said that a human being, who is born and 
passes through life under such a government and in such a 
state of society, has a fair opportunity for right develop- 
ment 7 No more than a grain of corn thrown into a heap 
of stones or a thicket of brambles." 

The power of corrupt social organizations is not at all 
exaggerated in this statement ; and the same remarks may 
be extended to corrupt religious, educational and commercial 
organizations, which have in all ages exerted inconceivable 

So, too, as far as the larger social circles, of which he 
is a part, in Christian nations, are worldly, ambitious, 
luxurious or sensual, he is led, by social power and rewards, 
and by the fear of shame, to follow the same course to which 
his depraved heart already impels him. Hence the fact that 
large cities are slaughter-houses of countless throngs of 
young men, — in theatres, at the gaming-table, the tavern, 
or the place of impure resort. Moreover, so far as business 
and politics are worldly and corrupt, so far they give a new 


impulse and greater development to his natural depravity. 
In some communities, the tendencies are all to ruin. In 
Others, Christian families and churches to a certain degree 
counteract them ; but still, even to this day, the predomi- 
nant power of the organizations of this world has been to 
evil. They have tended to develop, mature, and confirm 
the native depravity which already exists in each man as an 
individual ; and this alike in the higher circles of the 
wealthy, fashionable and powerful, and in the middle and 
lower walks of life. What Christian parent can send his 
child to the schools and colleges of our land, or into the 
stores of our merchants, or shops of our artisans, or even 
to the farms of our agriculturalists, without feeling that evil 
social influences, of vast power, will beset him on every 



We have seen tlie social and organic relations of man. 
But even this, in the judgment of those who hold these 
views, does not complete the dark picture. They regard 
every man who is born under such social organizations as 
also exposed to the malice and wiles of powerful evil spirits, 
acting through them. This is not, indeed, a doctrine of 
nature ; but, in their judgment, what nature does not teach 
is clearly revealed in the word of God. This world, we are 
there informed, is the abode and theatre of action for hosts 
of fallen spirits, who, whilst the generations of men die, Uve 
and plan, and acquire malignant wisdom, from age to age. 
They understand the depravity of man, and his moral weak- 
ness ; and long experience has given them terrific skill in 
the science of temptation. Such systems of error as the 
depraved hearts of men are ready to adopt, they skilfully 
invent, promulgate and defend. Such organizations as are 
in spirit most opposed to the kingdom of God, they form, 
animate and sustain. Thus, not only by individual and 
transient suggestions, but through organized, established, 
and permanent systems of evil, do they ' ' work in the chil- 
dren of disobedience," and ''lead them captive at their 
will." The fearful power exerted by these dark rulers of 
this world we are in no danger of over-estimating. None 
had a deeper conviction of it than our Saviour. He was 


revealed and became incarnate to destroy the power of the 
devil and his hosts. When Paul was sent to the heathen 
world, his commission was, to turn them from the power of 
Satan to God. He regarded his chief conflict to be not so 
much with depraved man as with these dark hosts. Nor 
does prophecy give any hope of the conversion of the world 
till Satan is bound and cast into the abyss. Such is the 
fearful power of those spirits, in the midst of whose systems 
men, themselves so deeply depraved, are born and live. 
Not only, then, are men surrounded by corrupt human sys- 
tems, but by powerful spirits of evil, skilled to animate and 
employ these systems for their ruin with the highest degree 
of energy. 

Combine all of these statements, and we shall have a 
comprehensive and fearful view of the ruined state of man. 
Yet. fearful as it is, it is a view that has been, and, in its 
fundamental facts, still is, believed- by some of the most 
devoted Christians overseen on earth. They have been led 
to it by their own experience, by observation of history, and 
by the word of God. So the Reformers, so the Puritans 
believed, and so the leading orthodox bodies of the present 
day substantially believe. Eminently devoted men, like 
Edwards, have commonly the deepest and most heartfelt 
conviction of these things. They regard them as obviously 
the views of the inspired writers. Accordingly, it is be- 
cause God can and does save men, against such mighty 
causes of ruin, that, in the words of the apostle Paul, they 
extol the magnitude of his power. It is " according to the 
working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ 
when he raised him from the dead and placed him at his 
own right hand in the heavenly places." (Eph. 1 : 19, 
20.) Those thus saved he describes as once " dead in tres- 
passes and sins, walking according to the course of this 


world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the 
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, and 
by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Eph. 
2: 1—3.) 

Such, then, is a development of the remaining great mov- 
ing power of Christianity, as it has been and still is set 
forth by men deeply engaged in the great work of the moral 
renovation of man. At another time we shall consider the 
question, to what extent, and on what grounds, it is justly 
open to assault, as opposed to the principles of honor and 
right. But we will now look at it as a statement aiming at 
a thorough view of human depravity, and of the hostile 
forces which are arrayed against the renovation and sal- 
vation of man, and which are to be assailed and reversed by 
the power of God. It must be confessed that, on such a 
general view, it accords with the fearful energy with which 
depravity has been, in fact, developed in this world. It also 
presents a deep foundation for a system of redemption, — a 
system vast and sublime, and interlocking with the whole 
system of the moral universe. In its penetrating and revo- 
lutionary power it has proved itself deep and thorough. It 
presents to every individual a great work to be done, a great 
salvation to be secured. It provides powerful motives. It 
imparts energy. It creates a deep experience. It gives a 
profound and thorough character to all schemes of social 
reform. Moreover, it has ever been the great centre of 
evangelical enterprise and power. 



SucHj then, is a statement of the principles of equity and 
honor, on the one hand, and of the most radical view of the 
fallen and ruined condition of man, on the other. Each 
statement, it has been seen, is sustained by the testimony of 
men eminent for piety, and of the highest reputation as the 
defenders of orthodoxy. With regard to the fearful depth 
and power of human depravity, as actually developed^ even 
eminent Unitarian divines give most explicit testimony. 
That only which is needed to complete the view is an ac- 
count of the antecedent causes of such developments. This, 
as it has been just given, completes the common orthodox 
view of the two great moving powers of the Christian system. 
Can anything be more certain than that Christianity can 
never, as a system, operate harmoniously and with full 
power, except on two conditions, — first, that it shall, in 
theory, include what really belongs to them both, and, sec- 
ondly, that it shall give ample room for the full and consist- 
ent development of each? For the radical elements of both 
belong to the system, and are alike essential to its perfect 
development and most salutary influence. 

In contemplating them as they have been set forth, two 
things strike the mind as worthy of notice : one, that each, 
in its radical elements, is sustained by its own independent 
and indestructible evidence ; the other, that, as Christianity 


is at present adjusted, tliere is no possibility of a full and 
harmonious development of them both, but, on the other 
hand, one constantly conflicts with and tends to repress, and 
even to destroy, the other. 

The evidence which sustains the principles of honor and 
right, as we have seen, originates from the fact that God 
has so made the mind that their truth is intuitively recog- 
nized and affirmed, and is, therefore, a divino revelation j and 
also from the distinct recognition of these principles in 
Christian experience and in the word of God. 
- The truth of the fundamental facts concerning the ruined 
state of man is evinced by the combined testimony of the 
word of God, of history, of observation, and of Christian 

But, that in some way these moving powers have been so 
misadjusted as to conflict with each other, is obvious from 
simply placing them, as above developed, side by side. To 
say the very least, the preceding statements as to the ruin 
of man do appear directly to conflict with the principles of 
honor and right which have been set forth, and tend directly 
to subvert and destroy them. He who holds that God, in 
the manner already set forth, gives existence to men with 
natures radically corrupt and depraved, anterior to any 
knowledge, desire or choice, of their own, with full power to 
do evil and none to do good, and then places them under the 
all-pervading influence of corrupt and corrupting social sys • 
tems, — and, in addition to all this, subjects them to the tre- 
mendous and delusive power of malignant spirits, fearfully 
skilled in the work of developing, maturing and confirming 
original depravity, — cannot, at least, with any apparent con- 
sistency, say that the Creator has fulfilled towards them the 
demands of honor and of right, as they have been exhibited. 
How can he say that he has regarded their well-being as he 


ought, or that he has observed towards them the pwftciples 
of justice? Has he not held them responsible for what 
exists in them through his own agency, and anterior to 
any desire, choice or action, of their own ? Has he not con- 
ferred on them such original constitutions as most unfa- 
vorably affect their prospects for eternity, and render their 
right conduct and eternal hfe in the highest degree improb- 
able 'I Has he not placed them in circumstances which are 
not reasonably and benevolently favorable to their eternal 
life ? 

He, then, who holds that God is the author of the facts 
alleged, finds himself constantly urged, by the demands of 
logical consistency, to evade, or else to call in question and 
deny, the real and self-evident principles of honor and right. 
On the other hand, he who holds to the genuine principles 
of honor and right will be no less powerfully urged to deny 
the facts alleged as to the ruined state of man, and to put 
forth all his energies to subvert and destroy them. 

Nay, more ; it would seem as if the preceding statement 
of the principles of honor and right had been specially de- 
signed to effect this end. It seems to oppose the statement 
of facts, as to the ruined state of man, deliberately, univer- 
sally, radically, and step by step. 

Moreover, undeniable facts prove the reality of the alleged 
collision. Each of these moving powers of the system thus 
put into opposition to each other has, in fact, created a party 
to represent and defend it, and to oppose and subvert the 

It is, also, a fact worthy of distinct notice, that when, as 
has often been the case, individuals have tried to retain 
both powers in their system in full action, they have almost 
invariably run into self-contradiction ; so much so, that few, 


if any writers of this class can be found who are exempt 
from the charge. 

Finallj ; all attempts to harmonize these opposing powers 
have hitherto failed, and. as the system is at present ad- 
justed, ever must fail. Eor, since each has in itself radical 
truth, which is sustained bj its own evidence, it has a vital 
power which cannot be destroyed, nor can its defenders be 
thoroughly defeated; and, therefore, unless they can be 
harmoniously adjusted, division and conflict will be per- 

It is not possible, however, to convey a full idea of this 
momentous truth by mere general statements. We will, 
therefore, more in detail, exhibit principles and facts, to 
illustrate the reality of this conflict, and to show that, on 
existing grounds, it is interminable. 

BOOK 11. 





Let us, then, proceed more fully to set forth what has 
been the actual operation of these powers, so misadjusted 
and in conflict, on the human mind. In doing this, I shall 
not, at present, follow the order of history. I shall, rather, 
look at the relations of the system to the human mind, its 
tendencies to produce deep divisions of opinions and feelings, 
and the different kinds of experience to which it naturally 
gives rise. 

It will be seen at once that the opposing doctrinal posi- 
tions which have been advanced are not points of mere spec- 
ulation, but of deep practical, personal interest. Christianity 
does not meet man as a mere philosophical theory, nor as a 
speculation of some Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, or any other 
uninspired sage; but as an inspired message from God, 
invested with supreme authority, and pointing man to a 
final judgment, and to eternal destinies, to be decided in 
accordance with its principles and requisitions. 


Nor does it relate, primarilyj to theory, but to action. 
Its great end is to produce a moral change in man — in 
every man. It charges guilt on all. It calls at once foi 
repentance, for a believing application for pardon through 
Christ, and for a holy life. Nor can the great points in 
question be avoided. Since they relate to conviction of sin, 
repentance, faith, and a holy life, they are, of course, 
involved in all preaching, in all prayer, and in all religious 

Nor are the interests involved in these conflicting powers 
0^ secondary consequence, and therefore adapted to excite 
out little feeling. They involve all that mi«n holds dear for 
two worlds, all that he can conceive of persL#a9l good or evil. 
Nay, more ; they involve not merely individu*^! well-being, 
but, what is infinitely more momentous, the character of God, 
and the eternal prospects of the universe under his omnipo- 
tent and all-pervading sway. 

We need not wonder, then, that the developments of the 
human mind, under a system so misadjusted, and involving 
such interests, have been characterized by a fearful earnest- 
ness, and deep and intense emotion. 

When such interests and emotions impel men, under such 
a system, it is absurd to suppose that division, of the deep- 
est and most radical kind, can be averted. It never has 
been possible. It never Avill be. Each of the conflicting 
views is fundamentally true, and is sustained by powerful 
evidence. Each is intensely affecting to the feelings ; and, 
such is the human mind, that it is to be expected that some 
will come entirely under the influence of one view, and 
others of the other. Moreover, if either gains the ascend- 
ency, it is large enough, and true and important enough, so 
to fill the field of vision, and to produce such an unwavering 
conviction of its truth, such an overpowering sense of its 


supreme importance, that it shall compel all that adorns lo 
be at war with it to give way, and summon the powers i>f 
logic, criticism and exposition, to effect its purpose. More- 
over, if either of these views thus takes possession of the 
mind, and fills and overwhelms it with emotion, it, of course, 
creates and gives character to a peculiar religious expe- 

There are those, I know, Avho look with contempt upon 
such theological conflicts of the present and of past ages, and 
the next to superhuman efforts which men have put forth in 
the defence of their views. But conflicts on such themes 
as these are worthy of any other emotion than contempt. 
Nothing can be more sublime and affecting than this great 
controversy of ages truly viewed, as from some mountain- 
top of history we survey the reality and earnestness of the 
conflict, its extent and duration, the depth of emotion awak- 
ened by it, its fertility in varied intellectual results, and the 
relations of its solution to the future destinies of the world. 

Let us, then, from such an eminence, endeavor to survey 
and develop some of the experi ^-n'sss which have sprung 
from the conflicting operations of t.Kc&« ill-adjusted truths. 



It is not my present purpose minutely to consider all of 
the experiences to which the system of Christianity, as mis- 
adjusted, has given rise. I propose rather to exhibit in 
their bold outlines some of the more important of them, 
reserving others for future consideration. 

In setting forth any experience, my purpose is, first, to 
present those true views in which are found the elements of 
its permanent vitality and power. After this, I shall then 
subjoin to each experience the reaction which has ever 
arisen against it from the truths which it has excluded, and 
with which it is in conflict. Of these experiences I shall 
now consider but six ; others may be adverted to hereafter. 

1. First of all will be noticed that in which a Christian 
experience, and a deep consciousness of the ruin of man, 
become so intense and powerful as to give the entire ascend- 
ency to the belief of the facts assumed in the most radical 
theory which has been stated of human depravity, and to 
suspend the power of the principles of honor and right to 
produce a disbelief, or even an essential modification, of 
them. Such full faith has, indeed, sometimes led even to a 
rejection of those principles, at least in their relations to 
God ; or, if not, to an evasion of them, or to a resort to the 
plea of mystery. 

2. Next will be considered that feeling sense of the 


Bacredness and momentous importance of tlie principles of 
honor and right in their relations to God, which gives the 
entire ascendency to those principles, and leads to an entire 
denial and rejection cf the facts alleged, in setting forth 
in a radical manner the utter ruin of man. 

3. I notice next an experience in which the fundamental 
facts and the moral principles are both retained without 
modification ; but the mind seeks relief from their conflict 
in a system of ultimate universal salvation. Of this we 
have a deeply interesting illustration in the experience of 
the celebrated John Foster. 

4. Next to this will pass in review that class of ex- 
periences in which both the principles of honor and right 
and the essential facts are professedly retained ; but still 
the principles are allowed to rjodify the facts, with the 
intention of removing all real conflict between them. 

5. We shall then advert to an experience in which the 
principles and the most radical facts in question are both 
retained, without any perceived and satisfactory mode of 
modification or adjustment. In this case, the mind comes, 
for a time, under the oppressive and overwhelming con- 
sciousness of being apparently under an universal system 
which is incapable of defence, and under a God whom the 
principles of honor and of right forbid us to love and to 

6. Lastly, an experience will be noticed in which, as in 
the last, the principles and the most radical facts in question 
are both retained, but are harmonized by a new adjustment 
of the system, such that the painful conflict between fun- 
damental truths is at an end, and God is seen in his full- 
orbed glory and loveliness, and is worshipped with undivided 
afiection and reverence. 

I shall consider in the case of only the first four of these 


experiences the reaction to which they give rise; for the 
fifth experience is too terrible ever to be embodied in formal 
statements, or to become so general and permanent as to call 
for a re'iction ; and the sixth, if it is ever truly reached, is 
adapted to harmonize all the facts of the case with the 
principles of honor and right, and thus to render needless a 

In this review of experiences, it is my earnest desire and 
aim, not merely to be impartial, but ever to regard with 
sympathy, and sincerely to honor, every response of the 
human soul to any part of the great system of truth, with 
whatever other errors it may have been connected. I am 
no less desirous to find a similar spirit in all of my readers. 
I do most earnestly deprecate the awakening in any mind 
of a spirit of partisan controversy. I rather desire, as I 
have already said, to do all in my power to create, on all 
sides, a feeling of sympathy and mutual interest, by point- 
ing out those benevolent and honorable impulses, and that 
regard to truth, — mixed though it should be with other 
motives, by which the various parties have been actuated., — 
and to produce a candid and united efibrt to eliminate error 
and to develop the whole truth. 



The radical element of the first experience is the doctrine 
of real, responsible, punishable depravity in man, before vol- 
untary action. Whether this depravity be called boldly a 
depraved or a corrupt nature, or, more mildly, innate or inhe- 
rent depravity, it comes, at last, to the same thing. It is, 
as I have said, resorted to by Christian men to account for 
the fearful developments of actual depravity, ^Yhich are so 
plain that even eminent Unitarian divines concede them, and 
state them with impressive eloquence and power. The mere 
power of choice and external temptation seem insufficient to 
explain a course of action so contrary to reason, so obstinate, 
so general, so ruinous. They, therefore, resort to the idea 
of a depraved and sinful nature anterior to choice and 
action. Those who hold this view also hold, so far as I 
know, without exception, the connected views of man's ex- 
posure to the full influence of corrupt social and organic 
relations, and of invisible malignant spirits of great power. 

At first sight, it would be supposed that no one could be 
induced to believe that the great Creator could or would 
give to a new-created being such a nature, rendering it 
powerless to do good, and then place it in such circum- 
stances. Yet many most excellent men have so believed 
and taught. 

By what power, then, have they been brought to sucb 


conclusions? I answer, by the power of Christian ex- 
perience. Nor is this an irrational ground of belief 

If a man is conscious that he has the plague, or a fevei, 
or a consumption, he knows perfectly that he is not well. 
If by any medicine he is restored to perfect health, he 
knows what health is, and what is the normal and proper 
state of the body. In this case, no argument from divine 
benevolen^e.;-;or the laws of honor and of right, against the 
existence of a diseased* constitution, will ever convince him 
that he was not in fact sick with a malignant disease, affect- 
ing his whole constitution. 

So there is a life of the mind. It involves an original 
and designed correlation to God, and such a state of the 
affections, passions, emotions, intellect and will, that com- 
munion with God shall be natural, habitual, and the life of 
the soul. He who has been so far healed by divine grace 
as to reach this state has a true idea of the normal and 
healthy state of the soul ; and, if he finds that there is that 
in the state of his moral constitution and emotions which 
seems to lie beneath his will and undermine its energy to 
follow the convictions of reason and conscience, and that by 
divine grace this is changed, and an energy, not only to 
will, but to do good, is supplied, — is it to be wondered at 
that, in some way, he should come to the conclusion that 
there is in his nature, or moral constitution, depravity or 
pollution anterior to the action of the will ? Is it strange 
that he should deeply feel and express his moral impotence 
to do good, arising from such a cause, and, in his struggles 
against it, long for deliverance in the words of Paul, " 0, 
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the 
body of this death ? " 

Let us look into the experience of Edwards in one par- 
ticular, — that is, as to a sinful propensity to self-admiration, 


which is always connected with a sinful desire of the praise 
and admiration of others, and leads to quick and bitter re- 
sentment if reputation is assailed. He who has been taught 
bj God to know what spiritual chastity is will see in this 
action of the human mind, so natural, so powerful, so fear- 
fully common, a kind of moral pollution, the loathsomeness 
of which he lacks words to express. He will long to exter- 
minate this malignant and polluting disease of the soul, and 
to become in the sight of God spiritually chaste, humble, 
satisfied with the judgment and favor of God, and regard- 
ing it as a very small matter to be judged or censured by 
human judgments, and censure as no reason for ceasing to 
exercise towards all the utmost good will and Christian 
love and forgiveness. In this respect, Edwards, when tried 
by the most unreasonable and unkind rejection and dishonor 
from his own church and people, manifested one of the 
most beautiful examples on record of a mild, forgiving, 
Christ- like spirit. Why was it? If wc look into his expe- 
rience, Ave shall see that God had prepared him for it, by 
erndicating that bitter root of malignity, of which I have 
spoken. His experience I give in his own words : 

" I have a much greater sense of my universal, exceed- 
ing dependence on God's grace and strength than I used 
formerly to have, and have experienced more of an abhor- 
rence of my own righteousness. The very thought of any 
joy arising in me, on any consideration of my own amiable- 
ness, performances or experiences, or any goodness of heart 
or life, is nauseous and detestable to me." 

This is exactly the experience of one to whom God has 
shown, in its true light, the deep and unutterable pollution 
of that spiritual unchastity which is involved in that deep- 
rooted pride, which, like a cancer, seems to have struck its 
roots deeply into the human soul, and the extermination of 


which calls for so much providential discipline, and so many 
and so painful struggles, and which made the thorn in the 
flesh necessary to preserve the humility even of the apostle 

Yet Edwards did not find this root of evil entirely exter- 
minated in his soul : and so much had his moral sensibilities 
been quickened to see and feel its pollutions, that any tend- 
encies to what he thus abhorred filled him with deep 
distress ; therefore he proceeds to say : 

'' And yet I am greatly afflicted with a proud and self- 
righteous spirit, much more sensibly than I used to be 
formerly. I see that serpent rising and putting forth its 
head continually, everywhere, all around me." 

This one instance illustrates what takes place in such an 
experience, in many respects. It is a process which the 
apostles Paul and Peter compare to a crucifixion. The 
original depraved character is called the flesh, and is 
likened to a body composed of many members, each of 
which is to be crucified and destroyed. This radical process 
of regeneration and sanctification leads to a consciousness 
of depths of inward and hidden sinfulness, of which a deep 
innate depravity seems to give the only adequate account. 
The action of all the powers seems to be deranged and 
perverted by sin. The whole mind appears to be a wonder- 
ful system in ruins. The heart is felt to be deceitful above 
all things, and desperately wicked ; and, as such, is hidden 
from the full knowledge of all but God 

This, no doubt, is what Prof Hodge means, when he 
says, " Conviction of sin under this system is more than 
remorse for actual transgressions ; it is also a sense of the 
thorough depravity of the whole nature, penetrating far 
beneath the acts of the soul, affecting its permanent moral 
states, which lie beyond the reach of the will." 


Under the influence of such feelings, Edwards says : " It 
is affecting to think how ignorant I was, when a young 
Christian, of the bottomless, infinite depths of wickedness, 
Dride, hypocrisy and deceit, left in my heart." 

His more mature experiences cannot be understood, 
unless we consider by what principles he judged. His 
standard was this • '' What must my soul become before it 
is capable of that pure and perfect sympathy with God in 
which its true life and health consists ; and what are those 
moral states, habits and emotions, which must be eradicated 
in order to secure these results?" All of these he sets 
down under the category of sinful states and emotions. All 
know that he became an eminently holy man. All know 
that through him God exercised an immense vital power in 
quickening the religious experience of the church. All know 
that no man in severe trials ever displayed more of the 
power of godliness than he. Being thus restored to spir- 
itual health, was he not qualified to judge what was the 
moral state from which he had been raised by the grace of 
God ? Let us, then, hear him state his own views of it. 
In his more mature experiences he thus speaks of himself: 

" My wickedness, as I am in myself, has long appeared 
to me perfectly ineffable, and swallowing up all thought and 
imagination like an infinite deluge, or mountains over my 
head. I know not how to express better what my sina 
appear to me to be, than by heaping infinite upon infinite, 
and multiplying infinite by infinite. Very often, for these 
many years, these expressions are in my mind, and in my 
mouth, ' Infinite upon infinite ! Infinite upon infinite ! ' 
When I look into my heart and take a view of my wicked- 
ness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell. 
And it appears to me that, were it not for free grace, 
exalted and raised to the infinite height of all the fulness 


and glory of the great Jehovali, and the arm of his powei 
and grace, stretched forth in all the majesty of his power, 
and in all the glory of his sovereignty, I should appear sunk 
down in my sins, below hell itself; far beyond the sight of 
everything but the eye of sovereign grace, that can pierce 
even down to such a depth. And yet it seems to me that 
my conviction of sin is exceedingly small and faint. It is 
enough to amaze me, that I have no more sense of my sin. 
I know, certainly, that I have very little sense of my sin- 
fulness. When I have had turns of weeping and crying for 
my sins, I thought I knew at the time that my repentance 
was nothing to my sin." 

I am aware that, to some, this experience of Edwards 
will seem either mysterious or exaggerated. It is, never- 
theless, an important fact, and deserves study. It is to be 
judged of by the principles which have been stated, and of 
which I shall speak more fully in another place. It is 
enough, at present, to say that these very remarkable words 
are not to be set aside with contempt, as the exaggerated 
professions of an excitable mind, incapable of clear and dis- 
criminating thought. Their author was, confessedly, the 
great metaphysician of his age. None knew better than he, 
so far as experience is concerned, what sin and hohness 
were. And yet, such is his mature report of his own expe- 
rience. I believe that there were real facts upon which his 
statements were based. What explanation ought to be 
given of them I shall consider in another place. 

To Edwards, therefore, must it not have appeared evident 
that he had never, by conscious acts of choice, introduced 
all of this depravity into himself, but that his sins were, in 
some way, the development of something from the depths of 
his being, that had preceded his consciousness and choice 7 
Would it not strongly incline him, — as a similar experience 


has thousands beside, — to the idea of a deeply depraved 
nature before actual sin? 

Edwards, moreover, was no less distinguished by a deep 
sense of the reality and power of the malignant influences of 
evil spirits. He looked upon Satan as the great framer of 
systems of error, and the author of spurious and delusive 
religious affections ; and he compares men to weak and silly 
sheep, constantly deluded, deceived, and combined in evil, 
or else frightened and scattered by his terrors. In the 
word of God, and in all history too, as eloquently and log- 
ically set forth in his treatise on original sin, he found a 
constant illustration and proof of the truth of these views. 
In this experience he was but an exponent of a class of men 
found in all ages. To them has the law of God come home, 
as it did to Paul, and, under the influences of the divine 
spirit, their conviction of sin has been deep and agonizing, 
their regeneration has been thorough, their spiritual expe- 
rience profound, and their new nature fully developed. 

Out of such an experience grows an unwavering and 
unconquerable faith as to the most radical view of the great 
facts of man's ruin. If there is anything which they know 
with absolute certainty, it is the truth of these facts. Their 
own experience, history, and the Bible, coincide; the evi- 
dence is cumulative, manifold, irresistible. They not only 
believe, but, in fact, they know. They are not mistaken, 
and they know that they are not. Such is the legitimate 
tendency of an experimental knowledge of the truths of the 
case on regenerated minds. They know their original 
depravity, just as a man restored to health knows that he 
was diseased and is now in health. He knows past disease 
more absolutely by reason of its contrast with present health. 

Evidence of the truth of such views of depravity they also 
find in the clear statements of the word of God, and in the 


history of the world. Such views have, therefore, been Yery 
extensively held by the most powerful bodies of evangelical 
Christians, as appears from the quotations made from the 
creeds of the Reformation. Indeed, the Princeton Revleiv 
alleges, and, so far as I know, correctly, that ' ' there is not 
a creed of any Christian church (we do not mean separate 
congregation) in which the doctrine that inherent corrup- 
tion, as existing prior to voluntary action, is of the nature 
of sin, is not distinctly affirmed. The whole Latin church, 
the Lutheran, all branches of the Reformed church, unite 
in the most express, nicely-measured assertions of faith in 
this doctrine." (April, 1851, p. 324.) Moreover, men of 
the most eminent Christian character, in successive ages, 
such as the Reformers, the Puritans, Edwards, Chalmers, 
and the Haldanes, have held these views. In their hands, 
too, deep and powerful results have been produced by the 

Therefore is it that Dr. Hodge asserts, in the Princeton 
Review^ that ''it is an undeniable fact, that this system 
underlies the piety of the church in all ages. It is the great 
granitic formation, whose peaks tower towards heaven, and 
draw thence the waters of life, and in whose capacious bosom 
repose those green pastures in which the great Shepherd 
gathers and sustains his flock. It has withstood all changes, 
and it still stands. Heat and cold, snow and rain, gentle 
abrasion and violent convulsions, leave it as it was. It 
cannot be moved. In our own age and country, this system 
of doctrine has had to sustain a renewed conflict. It has 
been assailed by argument, by ridicule, by contempt. It 
has been pronounced absurd, obsolete, effete, powerless. It 
has withstood logic, indignation, wit. * * =^ Still it 
stands." {Prin. Rev., April, 1851, p. 319.) 

Indeed, we think that no one can fail to see that the 


religious depth that has been found in the Western church, 
and among the Reformers, and Puritans, and their follow- 
ers, as compared with the superficiality of the Eastern 
church, under the auspices of John of Damascus, and the 
Greek fathers, is owing to the more profound views of 
human depravity which were introduced into it by Augus- 
tine, and which gave a deep and vital character to its theol- 
ogy, but which never penetrated and vitalized the Eastern 

No one, we think, in view of facts on the great scale, can 
deny that this system has exerted a deeper and more 
powerful influence on the world than any other. It has in 
it the elements of the greatest power, simply because it 
meets as no other system does the wants of the deepest 
forms of Christian experience, and through such channels 
the great river of moral power on earth must ever run. 

And yet, powerful as it is, it has never acted in any com- 
munity without meeting the counter influence of another 
power, springing from the deepest sources of intuitive human 
convictions and emotions. And, therefore, as we proposed, 
we shall proceed to consider the reaction to which this view 
of the system has ever given rijje. 



We have stated the elements of power in the first view 
of the system ; and, clearly, they are great, for a deep 
Christian experience has ever been the ruling power in 
God's kingdom. Yet we are obliged to add, that at no 
time, and in no community, have its triumphs been universal 
or permanent. Its advocates have been obliged to work 
against a steady, powerful and deathless reaction. Nor is 
the reason obscure. 

As at present adjusted, it has never been able to prevent, 
or successfully to repel, a most powerful assault, prompted, 
not by human depravity and carnal reason, but by the 
divinely-revealed principles of honor and of right. And to 
this assault its advocates have never made a reply which 
has had any decisive power. 

And, indeed, at first one wonders how even the advocates 
of this doctrine can avoid seeing that it is in direct conflict 
with their own statements of the principles of equity and of 
honor. For instance ; Turretin says of new-created Adam, 
that if there was in him '' any inclination to sin by nature, 
then God would be the author of it, and so the sin itself be 
chargeable upon God." How much more is this true, if, in 
new-created beings, there is not merely an inclination to 
sin, but even a sinful nature before action, and an entire 
want of power to do right ! 


How explicit, too, are the statements of Dr. Watts, that 
it would be unjust for God so to form a new-created being 
that there should be in his nature a bias to evil. So, too, 
the Princeton divines tell us that " a probation, in order to 
be fair, must afford as favorable a prospect of a happy as 
of an unhappy conclusion ; " and, by referring to the proba- 
tion of Adam as a fair one, they teach us that a good moral 
constitution, well-balanced powers, and a decided bias to 
good, are essential to such a probation. 

But are not men, by their concession, new-created 
beings 7 Do they not exphcitly deny ''any mysterious 
union with Adam, any confusion of our identity with his " 7 
(Theol. Ess., i. 136.) Is not God, therefore, truly the 
immediate creator of every man, — at least, so far as the 
spirit is concerned 1 Turretin, and the church at large, 
avow and defend this view. 

Here, then, we have millions of new-created beings, com- 
mencing an eternal existence with sinful natures and a total 
inability to do goud, even before thought or action. Can 
anything be more demonstrably at war with the principles 
of honor and of right which they avow than these facts 1 

Are we to suppose, then, that the advocates of this view 
have not seen this self-evident conflict, and have made no 
effort to obviate it? By no means. They have made 
strenuous efforts to defend the alleged facts on principles of 
equity and honor. Indeed, they take a ground that would, 
at least in part, sustain their position, if it were true. It 
is, however, a most remarkable ground ; but, as it has been 
most extensively taken and held, and still is, it deserves 
careful attention. 

The ground is this, — that all men, even before knowl- 
edge or action, and, indeed, before existence, have forfeited 
their rights a; nei'p-created beings ^ and have fallen, 



under the just displeasure of God; and that the existence 
m them of a depraved nature, and' of inability to do right, is 
a 'punishment inflicted on them by God, in accordance with 
their just deserts. 

It is conceded, by the Reformers and their followers, that 
God cannot be defended on any ground unless on this. The 
demands of honor and right towards new-created beings they 
fully admit, even to the highest degree. God is absolutely 
Dound by them until they have been forfeited. But they 
allege that in the case of all men they have been forfeited : 


ALLEGATION. If it Can be made out, the defence may be 
valid. If it cannot be made out, the defence fails. And if 
it fails, it is no common failure. It involves God's honor 
and justice as to the eternal destinies of the countless mil- 
lions of the human race. 

With deep interest, then, we ask, when did all men make 
this alleged forfeiture, and incur this liability? The reply 
is, never in their own persons. Indeed, it was done before 
they existed, by the act of another, even of Adam. 

But, in endeavoring by such a position to avoid collision 
with one law of equity and honor, do they not at once come 
into conflict with others ? Is it not unjust and dishonorable 
falsely to charge the innocent, and to punish them for what 
they never did ? Is it not unjust to decide that a new- 
created being has forfeited his right to a good moral con- 
stitution and propensities, and power to good, by an act 
which he never performed, and which took place hundreds 
or thousands of years before he was created ? 

Dr. Alexander says, that ''all intuitively discern that 
for a ruler to punish the innocent is morally wrong." He 
also says, that "where we have intuitive certainty of any- 
thing, it is foolish to seek for other reasons." But who 


can be innocent of a sin in every possible respect, if those 
are not who did not exist when it was committed ? 

Of what avail, then, is it to avoid a conflict with one law 
of equity and honor, merely by coming into collision with 
others no less important and sacred? What are the naked 
facts alleged by the advocates of this view? They are 
these : that across the chasm of hundreds or thousands of 
years of absolute non-existence, the guilt and forfeiture of 
Adam's sin are transported, and ascribed to new-created 
beings, just beginning an immortal existence, and made the 
ground of punishing them with a depraved nature and ina- 
bility to do good. Can such a procedure be made to accord 
with our intuitive convictions of equity and honor ? Is it 
not punishing the innocent with infinite severity, and with- 
out a cause 7 

Nor is any relief gained by regarding such a sinful nature 
and inability to do good as coming on men not as a penalty, 
but as a consequence of Adam's sin, according to an ordi- 
nance of God as an absolute sovereign. Indeed, this is con- 
ceded and insisted on, as we shall see more fully hereafter, 
by all the leading divines of the Reformation, and by those 
who in modern days profess to walk most exactly in their 
steps. The sovereignty of God, as they have clearly seen 
and declared, implies no superiority to the laws of equity 
and honor. If their rights as new-created beings have not 
been forfeited, God has no right to disregard them. 

But let us look at some of the efforts made to defend the 
alleged facts now under consideration. We shall then be 
able to judge what can be said to break the force of the 
principles of honor and right to which I have appealed. 


The first point of attack has ever been, as we have 
already stated, the doctrine of the existence in a new-created 
being of a sinful nature, for which he is hable to just pun- 
ishment, and that anterior to any knowledge, will or choice, 
of his own. How, it is asked, can it be honorable or right 
for God so to deal with any new-created being 7 To this 
question no one has ever been able to give any more satis- 
factory reply than those we have considered. These do 
not seem to have satisfied even all the friends of the doctrine 
of an inherent depravity of nature. 

Indeed, a distinguished theological professor (Dr. Woods), 
after setting forth what he asserts to be the faith of the 
church in all ages on this point, and surveying the discus- 
sions to which it has given rise, takes distinctly the ground 
of mere faith and mystery ; that is, he comes distinctly to 
the conclusion that it cannot be vindicated on any principles 
of honor and right known to the human mind. Well may 
he say so. He expressly teaches that there is in the nature 
of man, anterior to knowledge or choice, a proneness or 
propensity to sin, which is "in its own nature sinful," "the 
essence of moral evil," "the sum of all that is vile and 
hateful." (Woods' Works, vol. ii. p. 336.) He also 
teaches that God inflicts this "tremendous calamity" on 


all men for the sin of one man. This, he says, has been 
the belief of the church in all ages. 

He then asks, "But how is thisproceeding just to Adam's 
posterity 7 What have they done, before they commit sin, 
to merit pain and death 7 What have they done to merit 
the evil of existing without original righteousness, and with 
a nature prone to sin 7" (Vol. ii. 315.) To feel the 
full force of this question, let it be once more stated that 
he regards this proneness of nature to sin as in itself 
sinful, yea, the essence of moral evil, the sum of all that 
is vile and hateful. ; 

Surely, questions more momentous than these were never 
proposed. They affect all that man holds dear in all worlds, 
all that is holy and reverend in God. They are, also, 
frankly and fairly stated. What, then, is his reply 7 It is 
a reply eminently worthy of profound attention. It touches 
the very vitals of Christianity. It shows, more clearly 
than words can utter it, the unfortunate, the defenceless 
condition of the system of Christianity when thus presented. 

What, then, is the reply 7 In essence, it is simply this. 
It is utterly beyond our powers to show that such a pro- 
ceeding on the part of God is either just or honorable. 

"Here (he says) our wisdom fails. We apply in vain 
to human reason, or human consciousness, for an answer." 
Nay, more ; he even admits that such conduct is ''''contrary 
to the dictates of our fallible minds. ^'' Yet he still 
insists that we ought not to judge at all in the case, but to 
believe that it is right, because God has done it. " God has 
not made us judges. The case lies wholly out of our 

But if, as we have shown, God has made the human mind 
to form intuitive convictions of what is right and honorable 
in such cases if such convictions are a revelation of God 


himself, if he appeals to them in his own defence, then 
plainly the case does not lie wholly out of our province. 
How can we have any rational ideas of mercy in a case 
where, as God has made our minds, we must see that the 
most sacred principles of honor and right have been 
violated 7 Is such the basis of the greatest of all God's 
works, the redemption of the church ? 

That the human mind has strong intuitive convictions in 
tbis case, Dr. Woods concedes. The acts ascribed to God, 
according to our necessary convictions, appear dishonorable 
and unjust. But, to concede that, in this case, these moral 
intuitions are of divine origin, would be to abandon the 
argument. Nothing, therefore, remains but in some way to 
destroy their power, by giving them an evil name. This is 
commonly done by calling them "human reason," or " un- 
sanctified philosophy," or "natural reason," or "carnal 
reason," and then warning all who revere God and love the 
truth not to be carried away with the subtlety of human 
reason, or by philosophical or metaphysical sagacity and 
adroitness. The following is an illustration of what I mean. 
Dr. Woods says : 

"It is no difficult task for the subtlety of human 
reason^ to urge very plausible arguments against the com- 
mon doctrine of man's innate moral depravity. But, so far 
as the doctrine is taught us by the inspired writers, it is our 
duty to hold it fast, however unable we may be to sustain it 
by metaphysical reasonings or to remove the objections 
which unsanctijied philosophy may set in array against it. 
It is a doctrine which is not to be brought for trial to the 
bar of human reason. Mere natural reason^ mere philo- 
sophical or metaphysical sagacity, transcends its just bounds, 
^nd commits a heinous sacrilege, when it attacks this pri 
inary article of onr faith, and la^bors to distort it, to under- 


mine it, or to expose its truth or its importance to distrust." 
(Woods, vol. II 828.) 

I admit fully that the essential facts of human depravity, 
as I have set them forth, are of unspeakable moment, and 
that no revealed doctrine of the Bible is to be given up at 
the demand of unsanctified philosophy or carnal reason. 
But how does it appear that the intuitive decisions of the 
human mind as to honor and right, in view of the facts 
alleged, are unsanctified philosophy and carnal reason? 
How does it appear that they are not of divine origin, yea, 
the very voice of God through the human soul ? Till this 
can be shown, it is not lawful to evade their power by 
resorting to mystery and faith in God. 

Nor ought it to be forgotten that this style of reasoning 
is easily retorted. It is only necessary to assume that the 
theory in question is based upon a false interpretation of 
the word of God, and then to warn all who fear God to 
avoid the sacrilegous audacity involved in doing violence to 
the divinely revealed principles of equity and honor, for the 
sake of sustaining the unfounded dogmas and crude spec- 
ulations of human theorizers. If in this there would be no 
fair argument, as I concede, — if it would be but begging 
the question in debate, — why is the same style of argument 
any better on the other side of the question 1 

Dr. Hodge, an eminent leader of the Princeton divines, 
in view of the same alleged facts, at first assumes a ground 
of defence on the principles of justice. It would not be 
just, he tells us, to condemn men without a probation, either 
personally or in Adam. But a fair probation they have 
had. But even he must come at last to the same issue. 
His account of the matter is this : God's proceedings can 
be justified, because, before inflicting this tremendous evil, 
the raoe had a probation, through Adam as a representative ; 


and that, since he sinned in this character, all men forfeited 
their original rights, and became obnoxious to penalty. 
Hence, the evils that come on men through his offence are 
not an arbitrary infliction, nor merely a natural consequence, 
but the infliction of a penalty. 

But let us look a little more closely through these words 
at the real facts of the case, as held by Professor Hodge, 
and see if any real relief is gained. When, then, this 
penalty was originally denounced on them, had man trans- 
gressed any law 7 None ; neither the law of Moses, nor 
the law of nature. Was there in them any innate depravity, 
on account of which they could be punished ] None at all. 
The infliction of the penalty is antecedent to all these 
things. What, then, is this penalty? It is the greatest 
evil of which the mind of man can conceive. It is an 
entire forfeiture of the favor of God. It is the doom of 
comniencmg their existence out of fellowship with Him. 
It is to be utterly deprived of those original influences of 
the Spirit without which the mind cannot be developed in 
the image of God, but becomes inevitably sinful and cor- 
rupt, even before choice and action ; and all this is denounced 
on all men before they have personally acted at all, 
and yet " it is of all evils the essence and the sum." That 
this is a fair statement of his views the following passage 
will show. (Hodge on Romans, pp. 189, 190.) 

After considering some supposable causes of the penal 
evils that are asserted to come on the race through Adam, 
he decidedly rejects them, and thus proceeds : 

" No one of these causes, nor all combined, can account 
for the infliction of all the penal evils to which men are 
subjected. The great fact in the apostle's mind was, that 
God regards and treats all men, from the first moment 
of their existencCj as out of fellowshij) with himself 


into communion with them the moment they begin to exist 
(as he did with Adam), and forming them by his spirit in 
his own moral image, he regards them as out of nis favor, 
ana withholds the influences of the Spirit. 

'' Why is this 1 Why does God thus deal with the human 
race ? Here is a form of death which the violation of the 
law of Moses, the transgression of the law of nature, the 
existence of innate depravity, separately or combined, 
are insufficient to account for. Its infliction is ajitecedent 
to them all ; and yet it is of all evils the essence 
AND THE SUM. Men begin to exist out of communion 
with God. This is the fact which no sophistry can get out 
of the Bible, or the history of the world. Paul tells us 
why it is. It is because we fell in Adam ; it is for the 
offence of one man that all thus die. The covenant being 
formed with Adam, not only for himself, but also for his 
posterity, — in other words, Adam having been placed on 
trial not for himself only, but also for his race, — his act 
was, in virtue of this relation, regarded as our act. 
God withdrew from us, as he did from him ; in consequence 
of this withdrawal we begin to exist in moral darkness, 
destitute of a disposition to delight in God, and prone to 
delight in ourselves and the world. The sin of Adam, 
therefore, ruined us ; it was the ground of the withdrawing 
of the divine favor from the whole race ; and the inter- 
vention of the Son of God for our salvation is an act of 
pure, sovereign and wonderful grace." And again : •' The 
infliction of a penalty supposes the violation of law. But 
such evil was inflicted before the giving of the Mosaic law ; 
it comes on men before the transgression of the law of 
nature, or even the existence of inherent depravity. It 


must, therefore, be for tlie oiFence of one man tliat judgmens 
has come upon all men to condemnation." 

Now, it will be observed, that the whole of this attempted 
vindication of God in inflicting such a penalty turns simply 
and only upon the assumed fact that " He regarded as 
our act^'' the act of Adam, — ^an act which it is at the 
same time conceded icas not our act. It is conceded that 
we had not sinned in any sense ; w^e had not violated the 
law of Moses, nor of nature, nor of Paradise, and there 
was in us no innate depravity. Nay, we did not even exist. 
Yet before our existence the penalty on us was denounced, 
and before any action of ours it is inflicted, — a penalty 
which "is of all evils the essence and the sum," and 
inflicted solely on the ground that God regarded as ours an 
act which was confessedly not ours. 

The question by such a defence is merely shifted ; but it 
returns with augmented force. On what principles of 
honor or of right is God to be justified in regarding as ours 
an act which was not ours, and on such a ground inflict- 
ing on us the greatest of all conceivable evils ? Is not the 
imputation in question an additional act of injustice, instead 
of a just ground of inflicting a penalty so severe? 

On this point Prof Hodge has thrown no light. No 
light can be thrown upon it. So long as he holds such 
views, he must at last — as in fact he does — come to the 
ground of mystery and faith taken by Dr. Woods. That 
venerable father, conceding, as he does, that such facts are 
against our natural intuitions of honor and right, is 
obliged to say, "Here our wisdom fails. We apply in 
vain to human reason and human consciousness for an 
answer. We are perplexed and confounded, and find no 
resting-place until we seize the sublime truth, that ' God's 
ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts,' and 


that all his acts and all liis appointments are right." Prof. 
Hodge must, and does at last, join Dr. Woods in thus 
rejecting the testimony of our intuitive convictions of honor 
and right, and in retreating beneath the shelter of mystery 
and faith. 

With reference to these dealings of God "with our race, 
he distinctly says that they cannot be •' explained on the 
common-sense principles of moral government. The system 
which Paul taught was not a system of common sense, 
but of profound and awful mystery." (^Prhi. Rev., April, 
1851, p. 818.) 

Still, there are certain things from which they both 
shrink ; and, in so doing, they, in at least one particular, 
admit the authority of these same natural intuitions, which 
they have just rejected. Dr. Woods regards as unauthor- 
ized and appalling the position that infant children, who 
are not guilty of any actual sin, either outwardly or 
inwardly, will be doomed to misery in the world to come, 
merely for sinful propensity, — forgetting that elsewhere he 
had declared it to be the very essence of all depravity. 

Dr. Hodge also repudiates the doctrine " that eternal 
misery is inflicted on any man for the sin of Adam, 
irrespective of inherent depravity or actual transgression." 
But why should even these views be repudiated, or regarded 
as appalling 7 

Have they not been taught and defended by the same 
plea of faith and mystery to which Dr. Woods and Dr. 
Hodge resort, in opposition to the most obvious principles 
of equity and honor ? We shall soon see that they have 
been. Why, then, do they repudiate them, or regard them 
a,s appalling ? 

Is it not merely because they are at war with those 
intuitive principles of honor and of right which God has 


made the mind to form? But are not the other facts, 
defended hy both, as really against those principles ? Dr. 
Woods concedes that they are "contrary to the dictates of 
our minds " (vol. it. p. 315), but attempts to weaken the 
force of the concession by calling them ^^ fallible minds." 
But if our intuitive decisions are fallible in one case, why 
not in another 1 It certainly is an intuitive perception of 
the human mind — if there is any — that to regard that as 
our act which is not our act, and, on this ground, to inflict 
on us, before knowledge or action of any sort, a penalty 
which "is of all evils the essence and the sum," is as 
much at war with the principles of honor and of right as 
any act whatever can be. Therefore, if this intuition is 
delusive, what ground is there for trusting any other '] 
True, it seems to us appalling and unjust in the highest 
degree to sentence a human being to eternal misery who 
has never acted at all, whether it be done on the ground 
of a propensity of which he is not the author, or an act 
which he never performed. But our intuitions of right are 
no more clear against such acts as those which Dr. Woods 
and Dr. Hodge condemn, than they are against those which 
they justify in God. If they are fallible in one case, why 
not in the other 7 

After all, the course of Abelard, Pascal and others, was 
the only thoroughly consistent course. They boldly took 
the ground that God did condemn innocent beings to end- 
less misery for Adam's sin, and that on this subject our 
ideas of honor and right are not to be trusted, because not 
common to us and to God. 

Listen to Pascal : " What can be more contrary to the 
rules of ow^ wretched Justice than to damn eternally an 
infant, incapable of volition, for an offence in which he 
seems to have had no share, and which was committed six 


thousand years before he was born? Certainly nothing 
shocks us more rudely than this doctrine : and yet, without 
this mystery, — the most incomprehensible of all, — we are 
incomprehensible to ourselves." Yes. He reverently 
believed the tremendous fact alleged, and thousands of 
others have done the same, — on the ground that, though at 
war with our necessary and intuitive convictions of justice, 
still those convictions are '' wretched," and not worthy of 
confidence. " Such, indeed," said they, " are oi/r views 
of justice, but they are not the views of God." 

Listen next to Abelard : " Would it not be deemed the 
summit of injustice among men, if any one should cast an 
innocent son, for the sin of a father, into those flames, even 
if they endured but a short time ? How much more so, if 
eternal 7 Truly, I confess this would be unjust in men, 
because they are forbidden to avenge even their own real 
injuries. But it is not so in God, who says, ' Vengeance 
is mine, I will repay ; ' and again, in another place, ' I will 
kill, and I will make alive.' For God commits no injustice 
towards his creature in whatever way he treats him, — 
whether he assigns him to punishment or to life. ^ ^ 
In whatever way God may wish to treat his creature, he 
can be accused of no injustice ; nor can anything be called 
evil in any way, if it is done according to his will. Nor 
can we, in any other way, distinguish good from evil, 
except by noticing what is agreeable to his will." (Opera, 
Paris, 1616, p. 395.) So, then, Abelard deemed it just 
in God to cast an ^^ innocent^' child into eternal flames 
for the sin of Adam ; and that, in whatever way God should 
treat any of his creatures, it would be just. 

Is not this a distinct avowal of the doctrine so sublimely 
repudiated by Abraham, the friend of God, when he 
appealed to the eternal principles of right, as conceived of 


by the human mind, as bindmg God also? " That be far 
from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous 
with the wicked ; and that the righteous should be as the 
wicked, that be far from thee. Shall not the Judge of all 
the earth do ris^ht? " And did not God sanction this 
appeal ? 

But, at all events, Abelard was consistent. Entangled 
in the Romish system, from which he could not fully extri- 
cate himself, he ascribed to God acts at war with the intui- 
tive moral convictions of the human mind ; and what else 
could he do, except to say that, however such acts might 
seem to man, they appeared right to God, since in his idea 
and in reality right consisted simply in following his own 
will. Thus did Abelard virtually reject our ideas of right, 
as false and unworthy of confidence. 

But, on this ground, there is no standard by which the 
creatures of God can judge of his character ; and it would be 
absurd to ask. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do 
right? for certainly he will always do what he in fact wills 
to do, and this, according to Abelard, is the standard of 
right. Just as if there were no essential difference between 
benevolence and malevolence, between a purpose to produce 
a happy universe and a purpose to produce a miserable one ! 
Just as if God could make it right to treat the innocent and 
the guilty as if there were no difference in their character ; 
or to make a law, and then punish with eternal misery all 
who obey, and reward all Avho break it ; or to hate all who 
love and honor him, and to love all who hate and dishonor 
him ! But enough. Nothing but the supposed necessity 
of defending acts of gross injustice falsely ascribed to God 
could ever have driven a man like Abelard — one of the 
most independent thinkers of his age — upon ground so 
truly appalling. 


And yet, even Dr. Chalmers, at this late day, has taken 
a similar ground. He adopts it ''as the truth of the case 
that an individual is justly culpable for an iniquitous deed, 
done, not by himself, but by another, who lived nearly six 
thousand years ago." And yet he admits that " his own 
moral sense is altogether unable to apprehend it." This 
is not all. His moral sense is altogether against it. 

In principle, however, Dr. Woods, Dr. Hodge, Pascal, 
Abelard and Dr. Chalmers, all «tand on the same ground. 
In order to defend certain alleged acts of God, which are at 
war with the intuitive convictions of the human mind as to 
honor and right, they all reject — though not all to the 
same extent — the authority of those convictions, and call 
the application of them to those acts an improper rational- 

Now, in reply to this charge of improper rationalizing, it 
is enough to say that, as has been abundantly shown, it is 
a doctrine of the word of God, revealed as plainly as the 
doctrine of depravity, that such intuitive convictions of the 
human mind are, in fact, a revelation, and a law of God 
himself ; and that their authority is supreme, and that God 
adopts them as the jule of his own conduct, and admits that 
he is bound by them, and declares that he always observes 
them, and is ready to have all his acts tested by them. 
Therefore, in denying that he has done such acts as these 
divines ascribe to him, we not only stand on scripture 
ground, but, still more, we obey an explicit requisition of 
God, and do him the highest honor. 

The intuitive convictions of the minds of created beings, 
as to honor and dishonor, right and wrong, are the most 
important in the universe. They are the voice of God him- 
self in the soul. On them all just views of God depend. 
On them, as a basis, his universal and eternal government 


must ever rest. Shake them, and you shake the very 
foundations of his kingdom ; for righteousness and judgment 
are the habitation of his throne. 

Moreover, so long as any one clearly sees what he regards 
as acts of God to be at war with these fundamental princi- 
ples of equity and honor, genuine, honest and honorable 
conviction of sin, confession and repentance, are impossible. 
To thinking minds in this state it is of no avail to resort, by 
a familiar analogy, to the case of a man who has fallen into 
the ocean, and to whom a rope is thrown. In vain are they 
told that he will not waste his time in speculating whether 
he was thrown overboard honorably, or dishonorably, or acci- 
dentally, but will at once lay hold of the rope, that he may 
be saved. To those who speak thus they will say, " You do 
not reflect that a spirit cannot lay hold of the rope of salva- 
tion without repentance, and that true repentance implies a 
sincere confession that the conduct of God has been honor- 
able and right, and that of the sinner dishonorable and 
wrong ; and this is the very point on which we have diffi- 
culties which we long to remove, in order that we may con- 
fess sincerely and honorably, and not hypocritically, and 
under the influence of selfish fear." 

The only practical course, so long as these views are 
retained, is to suppress or prevent, if possible, such an 
action of the moral nature. Within certain limits, this is 
possible. The influence of early education, and a reverence 
for sacred things, may keep the minds of many at rest. If 
objections are raised, the consideration of them may be 
declined, on the ground that the system of Christianity " is 
not a system of common sense, but of profound and awful 
mystery," and that it is not to be tried before the bar of 
reason. They can be taught to withdraw their minds from 
all such questions, and fix them on the facts as developed in 


experience and in the scripture, and to aim at practical 
results. As the system in question now stands, this is 
clearly the wisest course for its advocates. For, so far as 
the minds of men can be called away from such points, and 
fixed on the legitimate evidences of their guilt and ruin, 
many will he alarmed, and brought to seek salvation in 
Christ. And, to a very considerable extent, by organiza- 
tion, and the pressure of denominational public sentiment 
on the mind from childhood, this can be done. 

Nevertheless, since these facts are within the proper 
province of the mind, a universal and permanent suppres- 
sion of the action of the instinctive convictions of the human 
race as to honor and right is not possible, and, if it were, 
it is not in accordance with the purposes of God that it 
should be effected. He has done nothing at war with those 
principles of honor and right that he has implanted in the 
human mind ; and, therefore, he does not fear to have his 
system judged by them. Nay, there is reason to believe 
that he has allowed these principles to be embodied as at 
present they are in the Unitarian body with a view to this 



We come, next, to the development of the second of those 
experiences of which I have spoken, as originating from the 
influence upon the human mind of the conflict of the great 
moving powers of Christianity. It is an entire recoil from 
Old School theology to the other extreme. It is an expe- 
rience in Avhich a feeling sense of the truth and importance 
of the great principles of honor and right, in their relations 
to God, so far gains the ascendency as to lead to the entire 
rejection of the radical facts which have been stated con- 
cerning human depravity and the ruined condition of man. 

This experience has found a more consistent and complete 
development among the Unitarians of New England than 
ever before ; for, in the case of such as Pelagius, Socinus, 
and Dr. J. Taylor, it existed, as will hereafter appear, in 
connection with a greater or less number of inconsistent 
truths, but here its influence has extended logically through 
the whole system. 

It is obvious that the orthodox views of the doctrines of 
regeneration, the atonement, the Trinity, and other parts 
of their system, naturally correspond with their views of 
human depravity. The great end of their system is to 
restore man from the state of sin and ruin into which he has 
fallen. Of course, a renunciation of their views as to that 


Btate of sin and ruin naturally leads to an effort at a self- 
consistent readjustment of the whole system. Nowhere has 
this effort been more consistently and thoroughly carried out 
than in New England. 

When we consider the original character of the Puritan 
fathers of New England, and their strong attachment to the 
faith of the Reformers, it may seem surprising that a defec- 
tion from their principles so extensive, and including a body 
of men of so much intellectual power, should have occurred 
as it has in the very heart of New England. 

With some, a ready and familiar solution of the fact is, 
to refer it to the depravity of the human heart, and its 
aversion to the humbling truths of the gospel. But, 
although I am as fully assured as any one can be of the 
deep depravity and deceitfulness of the human heart, I can- 
not believe that this solution can furnish a full, adequate and 
truly philosophical account of the matter. I do not believe 
that this great mental movement and revolution will ever 
be properly understood, until it is seen and conceded that 
the influence of an important part of the truth of God was 
one of the most powerful causes which was concerned in 
producing it. I refer to that part which I have already 
developed in the statement which I have made of the prin- 
ciples of equity and of honor, in the dealings of God with 
new-created minds. 

The reality and truth of those principles, it will be remem- 
bered, has been in all ages fully conceded, or, rather, asserted 
by the orthodox ; and the only ground of justifying God, in 
not applying them to men in this world, was the allegation 
that he imputed to them the sin of Adam, and regarded them 
as having thus forfeited all their rights. The invalidity of 
this justification I have already set forth. Is it to be won- 
dered at that the free and powerful minds of New England 


could not always be held by such views, or that they should 
at last recoil from the whole system which was made to rest 
upon them 7 Even before the full and open development 
of Unitarianism, many of the strongest and most thinking 
minds were reacting against the system which this view 
presented to them. They could not but regard it as dark, 
dreadful and unjust. The case of John Adams — after- 
wards President of the United States — is a striking illus- 
tration of the truth of these remarks. 

After leaving college it was his original design, as we 
learn from his diary, to prepare for the life of a clergyman ; 
but doctrinal difficulties prevented. Under date of August 
22, 1756, he thus writes, — being at that time engaged in 
teaching a school in Worcester, and having just decided to 
commence the study of the law : 

" 22, Sunday. — My inclination, I think, was to preach ; 
however, that would not do." * "The reason of my 
quitting divinity was my opinion concerning some disputed 
points." He was at this time a young man, having only 
completed his twentieth year. By consulting the record of 
the preceding Sabbath, we can look deeply into his heart, 
and see how he was affected by one of these '' disputed 
points," — the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin. 
Though but a youth, he writes with strong common sense, 
and with the clearness and force that distinguished his 
maturer years : 

'' If one man or being, out of pure generosity and without 
any expectation of returns, is about to confer any favor or 
emolument upon another, he has a right and is at liberty 
to choose in what manner and by what means to confer it. 
He may confer the favor by his own hand, or by the hand 
of his servant ; and the obligation to gratitude is equally 
strong upon the benefited being. The mode of bestowing 


does not diminish the kindness, provided the commodity or 
good is brought to us equally perfect, and without our 
expense. But, on the other hand, if one being is the 
original cause of pain, sorrow or suffering, to another, 
voluntarily, and without provocation, it is injurious to that 
other, whatever means he might employ, and whatever cir- 
cumstances the conveyance of the injury might be attended 
with. Thus, we are equally obliged to the supreme Being 
for the information he has given us of our duty, whether by 
the constitution of our minds and bodies, or by a supernat- 
ural revelation. For an instance of the latter, let us take 
original sin. Some say that Adam's sin was enough to 
damn the whole human race, without any actual crimes 
committed by any of them. Now, this guilt is brought 
upon them not by their own rashness and indiscretion, not 
by their own wickedness and vice, but by the supreme 
Being. This guilt brought upon us is a real injury and 
misfortune, because it renders us worse than not to be ; and, 
therefore, making us guilty on account of Adam's delega- 
tion, or representing all of us, is not in the least diminish- 
ing the injury and injustice, but only changing the mode of 

Judge Story, too, that great luminary of American juris- 
prudence, though educated in the Calvinistic faith, before 
he finished his college life turned from that system, — under 
the influences of similar causes, — and, with his class-mate, 
the world-renowned Channing, became the earnest advocate 
of an opposing system. 

If the principles of honor and of right which I have stated 
are true, then, however much we may regret the results 
to which these and other eminent men came, it is both dis- 
ingenuous and uncandid to deny that, so far as they followed 
them, they w^re actuated by noble and sublime principles. 


I am aware that, in view of the results to which they 
came, it has happened that, by a natural association, any 
application of the principles themselves, in these relations, 
is very often regarded with a kind of fear and distrust. 
Whenever any one begins to speak of forming a judgment 
on the doctrine of imputation and human depravity by 
referring to the principles of honor and right as they apply 
to God, fears are entertained, at once, of the worst results. 
They are warned of the danger of such speculations, and 
of our incapacity to judge of the divine dispensations, and 
of the necessity of confiding in the statements of God. 

These cautions, together with education and Christian 
consciousness, are sufficient to restrain many minds. But 
many are so deeply aifected by a conviction of the truth 
and importance of the principles in question, and are so 
much agitated by the seeming conflict of the common views 
of depravity with them, that they cannot rest. The char- 
acter of God is the sun of the moral world. To them 
these views seem fatally to darken it, and to fill the 
universe with gloom. This they cannot endure. At 
length, after many painful struggles, they first reject the 
facts concerning human depravity and ruin, from which 
such results seem to flow ; and, finally, the whole system 
which gi'ows out of them. Such appears to have been the 
case with Dr. Channing, who, at first, was taught to believe 
and seemed to hold the usual doctrine of human depravity. 
Step by step he proceeded, till he had renounced not merely 
human depravity, but the other doctrines connected with it, 
including that of evil spirits. But, even in those who thus 
reject the whole system, there is no point on which they feel 
BO deeply as on the conflict of the common doctrine of 
depravity with the principles of honor and right in the 
divine Being. Their attention has been turned strongly and 


predominantly to these principles. Their deepest experi- 
ence has arisen from a contemplation of them, and from an 
earnest desire and firm purpose to repudiate all alleged 
facts that represent the supreme Ruler of the universe as 
dishonorable and unjust. 

Almost the entire force of the argument of Dr. Ware 
against Dr. Woods depends upon his appeal to the moral 
attributes of God as inconsistent with the Calvinistic doc- 
trine of imputation, original sin, and total depravity. 

Moreover, the strength of the feelings of Unitarians 
against the doctrine of the Trinity seems to be chiefly owing 
to its connection with the orthodox doctrine of depravity. 
Accordingly, Dr. Channing says, "We find Trinitarianism 
connecting itself with a scheme of administration exceed- 
ingly derogatory to the divine character. It teaches that 
the infinite Father saw fit to put into the hands of our first 
parents the character and condition of their whole progeny ; 
and that through one act of disobedience the whole race 
bring with them into being a corrupt nature, or are born 
depraved. It teaches that the ofiences of a short life, 
though begun and spent under this disastrous influence, 
merit endless punishment; and that God's law threatens this 
infinite penalty ; and that man is thus burdened with a guilt 
which no sufierings of the created universe can expiate, 
which nothing but the sufierings of an infinite being can 
purge away. In this condition of human nature Trin- 
itarianisni finds a sj^hei'e of action for its different 

Notice, now, the depth of emotion which is caused by the 
conviction that for God to deal thus with his creatures is 
dishonorable and unjust. He proceeds to say, of such 
views, that they look upon them with " horror and grief." 
" They take from us our Father in heaven, and substitute a 


stem and unjust Lord. Our filial love and reverence r:se 
up against them. We saj to the Trinitarian, touch any- 
thing but the perfections of God. Cast no stain on thai 
spotless purity and loveliness. We can endure any errors 
but those which subvert or unsettle the conviction of God's 
paternal goodness. Urge not upon us a system which 
makes existence a curse, and wraps the universe in gloom. ^' 

Let no one suppose that there is any affectation of feeling 
here. It is a true and genuine experience of a mind highly 
endowed with the noblest sensibilities of our nature. 
Beyond all doubt, his feelings were sincere, honorable and 

Nor were these words the sudden result of oratorical 
excitement and enthusiasm, although a part of that elo- 
quent discourse which fully opened the great controversy. 
We find the same views in a private letter, dated Boston, 
December 29, 1812 : 

" I have spent this evening with our dear , and she 

put into my hands your letter on the subject of religion, to 
which you referred in the last which I received from you. 
I read it with sorrow. I saw that your mind was yielding 
to impressions which I trusted you would repel with instinct- 
ive horror. I know that Calvinism is embraced by many 
excellent people, but I know that on some minds it has the 
most mournful effects ; that it spreads over them an impene- 
trable gloom, that it generates a spirit of bondage and fear, 
that it chills the best affections, that it represses virtuous 
effort, that it sometimes shakes the throne of reason. On 
susceptible minds the influence of the system is always to 
be dreaded. If it be believed, I think there is ground for 
a despondence bordering on insanity. If I, and my beloved 
friends, and my whole race, have come from the hands of 
our Creator wholly depraved, irresistibly prepense to all 


evil, and averse to all good, — if only a portion are chosen 
to escape from this miserable state, and if the rest are to be 
consigned by the Being who gave us our depraved and 
wretched nature to endless torments in inextinguishable 
flames, — then I do think that nothing remains but to mourn 
in anguish of heart ; then existence is a curse, and the 
Creator is 

"0, my merciful Father ! I cannot speak of thee in the 
language which this system would suggest. No ! thou hast 
been too kind to me to deserve this reproach from my lips. 
Thou hast created me to be happy ; thou call est me to 
virtue and piety, because in these consists my felicity ; and 
thou wilt demand nothing from me but what thou givest 
me ability to perform." (Channing's Memoirs, vol. I. p. 

It is true that the Reformers do not teach that God 
directly creates in man a sinful nature ; but they do teach 
that, on account of the sin of Adam, he creates the soul 
without original righteousness, withholds from it divine 
influences, places it in a body and in a world of temptation, 
so that it inevitably becomes corrupt before action, and, 
being prepense to all evil, and averse to all good, is developed 
in nothing but absolute and entire depravity. Do not 
such doctrines as these fully justify the feelings of Dr. 
Channing 7 

The principles of Turretin, of "Watts, of "Wesley, of the 
Princeton divines, of the Presbyterian church, and of the 
Reformers, as to the claims of new-created minds on God. 
will abundantly justify such feelings, unless God can be 
released from those claims by imputing to men a sin which 
was committed by another long before they were created ; 
and shall we wonder that Channing was not satisfied or 
relieved by such a defence 7 Plainly, then, the system had 


been so adjusted as to bring into collision the real facts as 
to human depravity, and the principles of honor and right ; 
and he clung to the principles, and, seeing no way to recon- 
cile them with the facts, he rejected the facts. 

This was, indeed, a calamitous result, but it sprung from 
the action of some of the noblest principles of our nature. 
Nor on the great scale will it be in vain. The existence of 
the Unitarian body is a providential protest in favor of the 
great principles of honor and of right. 

It was not the purpose of Dr. Channing to color or ex- 
aggerate the opinions of Trinitarians in the representation 
which we have quoted, nor, in my judgment, has he done 
it. The statements of the creeds of the Reformation are 
stronger and more deeply colored than his. In another 
place he refers to the fact that later representations are 
somewhat softened ; but he is not even so satisfied with 

" This system, indeed, (he remarks) takes various shapes, 
but in all it casts dishonor on the Creator. According 
to its old and genuine form, it teaches that God brings 
us into life wholly depraved, so that under the innocent 
features of childhood is hidden a nature averse to all good, 
and propense to all evil — a nature which exposes us to 
God's displeasure and wrath, even before we have acquired 
power to understand our duties, or to reflect upon our 
actions. According to a more modern exposition, it teaches 
that we came from the hands of our Maker with such a con- 
stitution, and are placed under such influences and circum- 
stances, as to render certain and infallible the total depravity 
of every human being from the first moment of his moral 
agency ; and it also teaches that the ofience of the child 
who brings into life this ceaseless tendency to unmingled 
erime exposes him to the sentence of everlasting damna- 


tion. Now, according to the plainest principles of morality, 
we maintain th?.t a natural constitution of 'the mind un- 
failingly dispos'ng it to evil, and to evil alone, would absolve 
it from guilt ; that to give existence under this condition 
would argue unspeakable cruelty ; and that to punish the 
sin of this unhappily constituted child with endless ruin 
would be a wrong unparalleled by the most merciless 
despotism." (i. 543.) 

This statement, too, is fully justified by all the orthodox 
authorities to whom I have referred, unless God can be 
absolved from the claims of honor and right, by imputing to 
millions of new-created minds a sin which they never com- 
mitted, and then inflicting on them, by way of punishment, 
a corrupted moral constitution, certain to plunge them into 
sin and misery. 

• It is apparent that the force of these statements of Dr. 
Channing depends upon the assumption of our power and 
duty to test any alleged facts by the intuitive principles of 
honor and right, and that these principles are invested by 
God with just and supreme authority. But, not to leave an 
assumption so fundamental unsustained, in his piece entitled 
"Moral argument against Calvinism," he formally inves- 
tigates the subject. The statement of Calvinism which he 
there gives is taken substantially from the Westminster 
divines, and is not exaggerated. 

" Calvinism teaches that, in consequence of Adam's sin, 
in eating the forbidden fruit, God brings into life all his 
posterity with a nature wholly corrupt, so that they are 
utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all that is 
spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that 
continually. It teaches that all mankind, having fallen in 
Adam, are under God's wrath and curse, and so made liable 
to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of 


hell forever." In the light of this doctrine he presents, 
also, both here and elsewhere, the related doctrines of pre- 
destination, election, reprobation, and endless punishment. 
Against this doctrine, in such relations, he arrays the argu- 
ment ''that a doctrine which contradicts our best ideas of 
goodness and justice cannot come from the just and good 
God, or be a true representation of his character." 

In reply to the allegation that our capacities are limited, 
and we, therefore, incompetent to judge, he admits the 
limitations of the human mind, but denies that on this 
account we are to distrust or call in question those moral 
intuitions which God created it necessarily to form. To 
confide in these, he asserts, is to confide in God, not to dis- 
honor Him. We cannot reason, if we distrust our primitive 
and necessary laws of belief Nor can w^e judge in morals, 
if we distrust our necessary moral intuitions. Herein he 
exactly agrees with Dr. Alexander. He proceeds to say 
that there is indeed much that we do not now know, and 
shall know hereafter. Nevertheless, "no extent of obser- 
vation can unsettle those primary and fundamental prin- 
ciples of moral truth which we derive from our highest 
faculties operating in the relations in which God has fixed 

" God, in giving us conscience, has implanted a principle 
within us which forbids us to prostrate ourselves before mere 
power, or to ofier praise where we do not discover worth. 
— a principle which challenges our supreme homage for 
supreme goodness, and which absolves us from guilt when 
w^e abhor a severe and unjust administration. Our Creator 
has consequently waived his own claims to our veneration 
and obedience any further than he discovers himself to us 
in characters of benevolence, equity, and righteousness. 
He rests his authority on the perfect coincidence of his will 


and government with those great fundamental principles of 
morality written in our souls." 

This conclusive argument is conducted with great elo- 
quence and ability on the ground of natural reason, without 
reference to the Scriptures. The result of it, as applied to 
Christianity, is thus stated : " We know that this reasoning 
will be met by the question, What, then, becomes of 
Christianity ? for this religion plainly teaches the doctrines 
you have condemned. Our answer is ready, — Christianity 
contains no such doctrines." 

Thus, then, the principles of honor and right have 
formed around themselves a party, and, being carried logic- 
ally out to their full results, have destroyed all belief of 
any radical view of the facts in which the ruin of man 

Let no man despise this argument, or think fairly to 
meet it by alleging that human pride, or carnal reason, or 
hatred to the truth, is its moving power. It is not so. Its 
moving power is to be found in those great principles of 
honor and right which are a part of that natural law of 
God which he has inscribed on the soul of man, and which 
is rightfully invested with his own supreme authority. 

Moreover, as an argument it is adapted to operate with im- 
mense power on a rational mind ; and, unless some different 
adjustment of the system can be made, it is unanswerable, 
and logically fatal to the scheme ; nor will it ever be pos- 
sible to prevent a large class of minds from feeling its power 
and yielding to its influence. It has in it a principle of 
vitality which cannot be destroyed. Unless it is recognized, 
and the system so stated as to harmonize with it, it will 
surely cause eternal conflict and division. The radical doc- 
trine of depravity will still live ; for it is true, and cannot 
die. But it is impossible that the human mind, especially 


after it has been so educated and elevated as to feel the 
generous and honorable spii-it of Christianity, should not 
respond to such an appeal. 

How, then, has this argument been met? Attempts 
have been made to meet it in two ways. Some retain the 
facts unmodified, and resort to faith and mystery. Oihers 
modify the statement of facts, in order to remove the 
alleged discord between them and the principles of honor 
and right. I shall consider these modifications in a sub- 
sequent experience giving rise to the New School theology. 
At present it is sufficient to consider the course of those 
who do not attempt to modify the facts. As we have seen, 
they concede that their equity and honor cannot be shown, 
according to any known principles of the human mind. 
Accordingly, they take refuge in faith and mystery. They 
deprecate all attempts to compare the facts in question with 
the principles of honor and right, as a kind of sceptical 
rationalism. They deny that we have any right to suijject 
these doctrines to the scrutiny of reason. They declare 
that such a process is sacrilegious, and leads to Pelagianism, 
Unitarianism, and Infidelity. Indeed, the ground assumed 
often painfully recalls to our memory the sneer of Hume, 
that the friends of Christianity are very indiscreet in ex- 
posing it to the scrutiny of reason, a test which it is by no 
means able to endure. We know, indeed, that there are 
facts which are to be taken solely on divine authority. But 
if any statement, designed as the basis of conviction of 
sin and repentance, is palpably at war with natural right, it is 
not merely profitless to resort to the plea of mystery and faith, 
but, for many minds, it is dangerous. When they hear 
that God regards as ours an act which was confessedly not 
ours, and punishes u3 for it by a penalty great beyond con- 
ception, rejecting us from his fellowship, and giving us a 


nature depraved before knowledge or choice, they find no 
relief in the statement of Professor Hodge, that Christian- 
ity is " not a system of common sense, but of profound and 
awful mystery." After Dr. Woods has conceded that such 
facts are contrary to the moral convictions of our minds, 
and cannot be justified on any known principles, it is no 
relief to be told that the whole subject is a mystery, and 
that it is our duty to believe that all is right from a regard 
to the veracity and rectitude of God. There are limits to 
the duty of faith in alleged mysteries. If there were not, 
there could be no defence against absurdities the most gross, 
promulgated under the cover of the Bible. The advocates 
of Transubstantiation take refuge behind the shield of mys- 
tery; but all Protestants agree in the decision that a dogma 
which does violence to the intuitive convictions of the 
human mind, through the senses, shall not be sheltered by 
the plea of mystery and faith. So there are certain first 
truths on which all reasoning rests. Without them we can- 
not evince the being of a God, or establish the divine origin 
or authority of the Bible. The intuitive convictions of 
the human mind as to honor and right are of no less 
authority. Without them we could form no idea of the 
moral character of God. If any statements are directly at 
war with these, the resort to mystery and faith in their 
defence is not legitimate. That millions of non-existent 
beings should be considered as performirg Adam's act, 
and on this ground be punished for it, before they have 
known or done anything, or that any created being should 
deserve punishment for a nature existing in him anterior to 
any knowledge, will, or act of his own, will ever and 
universally be regarded as at war with the divinely inspired 
principles of honor and right, by all who are left to their 
natural and spontaneous convictions. The idea of an 


original constitution corrupted, and sure to result in sin, 
will no less earnestly be rejected. Nothing but a sup- 
posed necessity of the sternest kind will ever lead any one 
to disregard such first truths, and to take refuge under 



Such are the elements of strength in this scheme of doc- 
trine ; and, certainly, as the system is now adjusted, they 
are irresistible in a logical encounter with the opposing 
position. Why, then, does not this scheme prevail, and 
carry with it the whole Christian community? That it 
does not do this, that it never has done it, is plain. Why 
is it so ? 

The reason is one similar to that mentioned in the case of 
Old School theology; it is. that it meets everywhere a 
powerful reaction. This reaction arises from facts, from 
Scripture, and from Christian consciousness. 

The reaction of facts is clear and decided. Recall the 
statements made by leading Unitarian divines as to the sin- 
fulness of man and the history of this world. What can be 
more^dark than the views given by Professor Norton 7 Dr. 
Dewey confesses that the extent of human depravity " is a 
problem that he cannot solve, and that there are shadows 
upon the world that we cannot penetrate, — masses of sin and 
misery that overwhelm us with wonder and awe." Let any 
man study the interior history of governments in all ages ; 
of war, of slavery and the slave-trade ; of idolatry ; of all 
pursuits in which the main-spring has been the love of 
money ; of morals, not only in the pagan, but also in the 


Christian world ; of sensualism and licentiousness. — and he 
will be obliged to say, with Dr. Dewey, " We believe that 
the world now, taken in the mass, is a very, a very bad 
world ; that the sinfulness of the world is dreadful and hor- 
rible to consider ; that the nations ought to be covered with 
sackcloth and mourning for it ; that they are filled with 
misery by it. Why, can any man look abroad upon the 
countless miseries inflicted by selfishness, dishonesty, slan- 
der, strife, war ; upon the boundless woes of intemperance, 
libertinism, gambling, crime ; — can any man look upon all 
this, with the thousand minor diversities and shadings of 
guilt and guilty sorrow, and feel that he could write any 
less dreadful sentence against the world than Paul has writ- 
ten? Not believe in human depravity, — great, general, 
dreadful depravity ! Why, a man must be a fool, nay, a 
stock or a stone, not to believe in it ! He has no eyes, he 
has no senses, he has no perceptions, if he refuses to believe 
in it ! " 

Moreover, we find in the recorded experience of Dr. 
Channing himself that, with all his efforts to infuse into 
men elevated and honorable convictions of their own nature, 
and to arouse them to correspondent action, he found a 
general, steady and powerful indisposition to respond to the 

Under the date of November, 1833, he has given us an 
interesting discussion of the spirit of society in this world. 
He develops truly and eloquently the great law. of love to 
God and to man, and then thus proceeds : 

"Need I ask you whether a love thus grounded and 
nourished is the spirit of society 7 Is it the habit of society 
to meditate on the grei^t purposes for which each human 
being was framed? Has society yet learned man's relation 
to God, his powers, his perils, his immortahty ? Are theso 


the thoughts which circulate in conversation, these the con- 
victions which are brought home to you in your ordinary 
intercourse ? Need I tell you how blind the multitude yet 
are to what is nearest them and concerns them most deeply, 
to their own nature, — how they overlook the spiritual in 
man, — how they stop at the outward and accidental, — how 
few penetrate to the soul, and discern in that responsible, 
immortal being, an object for unbounded solicitude and 
love ? The multitude are living an outward life, discerning 
little but what meets the eye, valuing little but what can be 
weighed or measured by the senses, estimating one another 
by outward success, conflicting or cooperating with one 
another for outward interests. The consciousness of what 
is inward, and spiritual, and immortal, — how faintly does it 
stir in the multitude ! Man's solemn, infinite connections 
with God and eternity are unacknowledged or forgotten ; 
and so little are they comprehended, that, when urged on 
the conscience as realities, as motives to action and as found- 
ations of love, they are dismissed as too unsubstantial or 
refined to exert a serious influence on life. Thus the spirit 
of society is virtually hostile to those great truths in regard 
to human nature on which Christian love is built, and with- 
out which Ave cannot steadfastly and disinterestedly bind 
ourselves to our race." 

How far does this differ from the orthodox view of such 
scriptural statements as these, that men, until regenerated, 
are "without God in the world," and act under the influ- 
ence of "the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, 
because not subject to the law of God " ? 

Again ; after unfolding the demands of the law, as to 
universal, all-embracing love of man, independently of 
wealth, social position, rank or birth, he thus proceeds : 

" Thus universal, all-coTiprehending, is the love which 


springs from just views of man's nature and relation to God. 
And is this the spirit of society ? Does society breathe and 
nurture this, or does it inculcate narrowness, exclusiveness, 
and indifference towards the great mass of mankind 1 Do 
we see in the world a prevalent respect for what all human 
beings partake ? On the contrary, do not men attach them- 
selves to what is peculiar, to what distinguishes one man 
from another, and especially to outward distinction ; and is 
there not a tendency to overlook, as of little value, those 
who in these respects are depressed ? Do they not worship 
the accidents, adventitious, unessential circumstances, of the 
human being, — birth, outward appearance, wealth, manner, 
rank, show, — and ground on these a consciousness of a 
superiority which divides them from others ? Can we say 
of that distinction, which is alone important in the sight of 
God, which is confined to no condition, which is to outlive 
all the inequalities of life, and which, far from separating, 
binds those who possess it more and more to their race, — I 
mean moral and rehgious worth, — can we say of this, that 
it is the object of general homage, before whose commanding 
presence all lower differences among men are abased'? The 
influence of outward condition in attracting or repelling 
men's sympathies and interest is one of the most striking 
features of modern society, and gives mournful proof of the 
faint hold which Christianity has as yet gained over the 
hearts and minds of men. * ^ * * Who can deny 
that, on the whole, the spirit of society is adverse to this 
enlarged, all-embracing spirit of Christ ? ^ * ^ ^- ^- 
" Such is the spirit of society. Christianity teaches us 
to feel ourselves members of the whole human family; 
society, to make or keep ourselves members of some favored 
caste. Christianity calls us to unite ourselves with others ; 
society, to separate ourselves from them. Christianity 


l.(x« ties us to raise others ; society, to rise above them. 
Christianity calls us to narrow the space between ourselves 
and our inferiors, by communicating to them, as we have 
ability, what is most valuable in our own minds ; society 
tells us to leave them to their degradation. Christianity 
summons us to employ superior ability, if such we have, as 
a means of wider and more beneficent action on the world ; 
society suggests that these are a means of personal eleva- 
tion. Christianity teaches us that what is peculiar in our 
lot or our acquisitions is of little worth, in comparison with 
what we possess in common with our race ; society teaches 
us to cling to what is peculiar, as our highest honor and 
most precious possession. Traternal union, sympathy, aid, 
is the spirit of Christianity ; exclusiveness is the spirit of 
the world. And this spirit is not confined to what is called 
the highest class. It burns, perhaps, more intensely in 
those who are seeking than in those who occupy the emi- 
nences of social life. It is a disposition to undervalue those 
who want what we possess, to narrow our sympathies to one 
or another class, to forget the great bond of humanity. 
This spirit of exclusiveness triumphs over the spirit of 
Christianity, and, through its prevalence, the great work 
given to every human being, which is to improve his less 
favored fellow-being, is slighted. The sublime sphere of 
usefulness is little occupied. A spirit of rivalry, jealousy, 
envy, selfish competition, supplants the spirit of mutual 
interest, the respect, support and aid, by which Christianity 
proposes to knit mankind into a universal brotherhood.'''' 

If the essence and root of sin is selfishness, as opposed 
to the law of love, does not this state of things seem to 
justify the conclusion that men must have in them powerful 
native tendencies to such deep depravity ? Is this like the 


action of a race whose original constitutions, as tliey enter 
upon this life, are pure and uncorrupted ? 

At first, he was full of hope as to the power of the Unita- 
rian movement to renovate society. But the stern teach- 
ings of experience at last taught him that even to the call 
of that system there was not that readiness to respond that 
ought to be expected from a race of men naturally tending 
to all that is good and noble. In a letter to Blanco White, 
dated Sept. 18, 1839, he says : 

"I would that I could look to Unitarianism with more 
hope. But this system was, at its recent revival, a protest 
of the understanding against absurd dogmas, rather than 
the work of deep religious principle, and was early para- 
lyzed by the mixture of a material philosophy, and fell too 
much into the hands of scholars and political reformers ; and 
the consequence is a want of vitality and force, which gives 
us little hope of its accomplishing much under its present 
auspices, or in its present form. When I tell you that no 
sect in this country has taken less interest in the slavery 
question, or is more inclined to conservatism, than our body, 
you will judge what may be expected from it. Whence is 
salvation to come ? This is the question which springs up 
in my mind continually. Is the world to receive new 
impulse from individual reformers, or from new organiza- 
tions ? Or is the work to go on by a more silent, unorgan- 
ized action of thought and great principles in the mass ? Or 
are great convulsions, breaking up the present order of 
things, as in the fall of the Roman empire, needed to the 
introduction of a reform worthy of the name ? Sometimes 
I fear the last, so rooted seem the corruptions of the church 
and society. But I live in hope of milder processes." 

To me, the solution of all this seems to be clear ; — sin- 
cere, earnest an^ indefatigable, as were the efforts of Dr. 


Charming, the force of the radical and originating causes of 
such wide-spread actual human depravity was deeper and 
greater than his system would allow him to understand and 
consistently to believe, and therefore it steadily defied and 
resisted his most earnest and philanthropic eiforts. 

He did not, indeed, despair ; but most of his hopes lay in 
the uncertain future. Li the year 1839, in the preface to 
the third Glasgow edition of his works, he thus sets forth 
his hopes as a social reformer : 

'' These volumes will show that the author feels strongly 
the need of deep social changes, of a spiritual revolution in 
Christendom, of a new bond between man and man, of a 
new sense of the relation between man and his Creator. At 
the same time, they will show his firm belief that our pres- 
ent low civilization, the central idea of which is wealth, 
cannot last forever ; that the mass of men are not doomed 
hopelessly and irresistibly to the degradation of mind and 
heart in which they are now sunk ; that a new comprehen- 
sion of the end and dignity of a human being is to remodel 
social institutions and manners ; that in Christianity, and 
in the powers and principles of human nature, we have the 
promise of something holier and happier than now exists. 
It is a privilege to live in this faith, and a privilege to com- 
municate it to others. The author is not without hope that 
he may have strength for some more important labors ; but 
if disappointed in this, he trusts that these writings, which 
may survive him a little time, will testify to his sympathy 
with his fellow-creatures, and to his faith in God's great 
purposes towards the human race." 

In another place he says, in the same year : 

" I live as did Simeon, in the hope of seeing a brighter 
day. I do see the gleams of dawn, and that ought to cheer 
me. I hope nothing from increased zeal in urging an imper- 


feet, decaying form of Christianity. One higher, clearer 
view of religion rising on a single mind encourages me more 
than the organization of millions to repeat what has been 
repeated for ages with little effect. The individual here is 
mightier than the world ; and I have the satisfaction of 
seeing aspirations after this purer truth. ^ -^ ^ * ^' 
I believe, — I trust, — that a better age of theological litera- 
ture is dawning upon us. The human mind is beginning to 
throw off the weight of authority which has crushed it for 
ages ; and, although its first strength may be put forth in 
vehement wrestling with errors, in the subtilties of contro- 
versy, perhaps in rushing from one to another extreme, yet, 
if left to the free use of its powers, and to the quickening 
influences which God is pouring upon it through nature, 
through events, through revelation, and through a more 
secret and inward energy, it will at length arrive, in one 
and another gifted individual, to that state of calm, intense 
and deep medits-tion and feeling, from which all living and 
life-giving works on morals and religion are to proceed. 
One such work may be enough to give a new aspect to 
theology, to introduce modes of viewing and studying it as 
superior to those which now prevail as those are to the 
antiquated scholastic subtilties and jargon which once bore 
its name." 

In the anticipations of such results, to be produced by 
the power of truth and love, I am happy to sympathize with 
this distinguished philanthropist. But, in my judgment, 
the turning point of the whole revolution will be, so to 
adjust the system that the highest and most perfect enunci- 
ation of the principles of equity and honor in God shall not 
hide or extenuate the reality or the depth of the depravity 
and the moral ruin of man. When the depth of the moral 
malady of the race is fully understood, and so set forth as 


to imply no dishonor in God, then will that great revo- 
lution be attained the hope of which Dr. Channing waa 
never willing to abandon, but to which he still clung, in the 
midst of the severest disappointments and the most gloomy 

But, at present, I am concerned simply with the facta 
which a long course of philanthropic effort compelled Dr. 
Channing reluctantly to admit. 

In view of such facts, we ask, as before, is it possible that 
a race of beings in whom there is no native and inherent 
depravity, whose original constitutions are healthy and well 
balanced, and in whom there are preponderating tendencies 
to good, should for a long course of thousands of years have 
presented such results as these ? It cannot be. 

This view of the mournful facts of history and observa- 
tion must naturally prepare the way for a more affecting 
and impressive study of the word of God. In that are 
found most vivid statements of the original, universal and 
deep depravity of man, — a depravity so absolute that men 
are said to be dead in trespasses and sins, and by nature the 
children of wrath. This state of things is asserted to be as 
universal and absolute as the need of the redemption of 
Christ. " We thus judge," saith the apostle Paul, " that 
if one died for all, tlien were all dead ; and that he died for 
all that they who live should henceforth live not unto them- 
selves, but unto him who died for them and rose again." 
The universal necessity of a moral regeneration, or new 
creation, is seen to result from these facts, and to be clearly 
stated in the word of God. 

These views are illustrated and confirmed by the state- 
ment of the experience of the inspired writers, — an expe- 
rience utterly unlike that of any other human writers, 


except such as have derived a similar experience from the 
word of God. 

In addition to this, it is a fact that multitudes in ever^? 
age do become conscious, in their own experience, of a great 
and radical moral change, which fully corresponds to these 
statements of the word of God, in their most obvious sense 
and deepest extent. They are made to see in the character 
of God, and in his law, the true standard of holiness ; they 
are deeply convinced of their own sinfulness and moral 
impotence ; they become conscious of a great moral cha,nge, 
corresponding in all respects to that set forth in the word 
of God ; they now receive a new and spiritual understand- 
ing of that sacred book ; the new creation therein revealed 
towers upwards like a mountain towards heaven, radiant 
with glory, full of new and enrapturing spiritual life. 
Even one individual book, like the Epistle to the Ephesians, 
seen and felt in its spiritual glory, is enough to satisfy the 
soul of the divine, the supernatural origin of the word of 
God. In it the new-born soul mounts up as on the wings 
of an eagle, until it sits down with Christ in heavenly 
places, amidst the glories of heaven. 

Is it to be wondered at that causes so powerful as these 
should cause a constant reaction against the results which 
by a strict logic are made to flow from the principles of 
honor and right by Unitarian divines? In evangelical 
conviction of sin, and regeneration, there is a living power ; 
and in the certainty which it gives of the deep meaning and 
exact truth of the Bible on the subject of human depravity, 
there is an energy of resistance to opposite doctrines which 
nothing can overcome or destroy. 



One result of the Unitarian views is altogether unde- 
signed, and was little foreseen by the leaders of the system. 
Indeed, it is not peculiar to their system, as we shall show 
in considering some forms of the New School theology. It is 
the virtual degradation of free agency itself, in their efforts 
to elevate the existing nature of man. They assert that God 
creates men from age to age with such moral constitutions 
as the claims of equity and honor demand. But the his- 
tory of this world, as they state it, contradicts the idea that 
men are born holy, or with powerful and predominating 
tendencies to good. Therefore they take the ground of Dr. 
Ware : " Man is by nature — by which is to be understood 
as he is born into the world, as he comes from the hands of 
the Creator — innocent and pure ; he is by nature no more 
inclined or disposed to vice than to virtue, and is equally 
capable, in the ordinary use of his faculties, and with the 
common assistance afforded him, of either." Thus, in order 
to account for the actual sinfulness of man in this world, 
Unitarians are compelled to abandon the highest standard 
as to what is due from God to new-created minds. They 
abandon the idea of minds created with original righteous- 
ness, and, therefore, with strong predominant and effective 
tendencies to good, as unphilosophical, or even impossible. 
They take the ground that God has given to men, as neces- 


sarily limited, ignorant, imperfect, new-created beings, all 
that the nature of free agency will allow. Thus, Dr 
Dewej says : 

''It is in the very nature of a moral and imperfect being 
to err ; not to sin wilfully, malignantly, — that is not neces- 
sary, — but to err through ignorance and impulse, to fall 
into excess or defect, and so to fall into sin. And it is in 
the poiver of such a being to sin intentionally. Man hag 
done both. And misery has followed as the consequence, 
at once, and corrective, of his errors. Where, now, is the 
mystery or difficulty? * * * An imperfect, free 
moral nature is, in its essential constitution, — is, by defini- 
tion, peccable ; it is liable to err ; and its erring is nothing 
strange nor mysterious. The notion of untempted inno- 
cence for such a being is, I hold, a dream of theology. 
His very improvement^ his very progress^ ever iinplies 
previous err in g^ 

The essential principle of this defence of God, in view of 
the conceded and fearful sinfulness of man, is, that God has 
given to men as good original constitutions as the nature of 
free agency admits of Indeed, it would seem logically to 
result in the principle that sinning is a general necessity of 
all finite moral beings, as such, and is an essential part of a 
moral education, designed to result in stable virtue. 

Dr. Burnap presents similar views. He teaches us that 
" every human soul comes from the hand of God pure, as 
was Adam; without, indeed, any decided character, but 
capable of virtue and holiness, though exposed to temptation 
and sin." He explains his sin by the fact that he is free, 
has strong appetites and impulses, bodily and mental, is 
ignorant, is surrounded by temptations, and yet is under 
law. Thus he inevitably falls into sin. Then comes in the 
power of habit, and the law of development, to strengthen 


and confirm these evil results. (See the wliole of Dis- 
course XXI.) 

In another place he makes the following clear and ex- 
plicit statements : 

'' It is God's will that man should commence his career 
at nothing, without positive character, though innocent; 
without knowledge, without experience ; weak, and subjected 
to urgent wants and strong necessities ; with passions within 
and many and mighty temptations without. His ignorance 
is liable to be deceived, his passions to be excited, his inter- 
ests to be miscalculated, and, of course, he is liable to sin. 
In comparison to God, in his best estate, he has the weak- 
ness of infancy. Is it not to be expected that a being thus 
endowed and thus conditioned should sometimes sin ? All 
that can be expected of man is that his career should be 
progressive ; that his choice should be fixed on good 
after wavering a while. Man being free, the only way in 
which his character can be established is by fixing his delib- 
erate and habitual choice on good. Accordingly, this seems 
to be the whole purpose of the present life. This world is 
a state of discipline, having in view this very end, — the 
production in man of a holy character." 

This view accounts for the universal sin of this world by 
the necessary nature of free agency and of a state of proba- 
tion, as designed to form a holy character. Of course, as 
in a great majority of cases there is an entire failure to 
secure this result, we are compelled to entertain very low 
ideas of the possibilities of free agency. 

The obvious tendency of these views is to degrade the 
essential nature of free agency itself, and of the universe as 
based on it. It no less diminishes the guilt and evil of sin. 
Indeed, it approximates very closely to the idea of the 


Hegelian scliool, — that sin, tliough an evil, is yet a neces- 
sary and useful means of moral development. 

Dr. Burnap seems to have been aware that his views 
would appear to be open to this objection ; for he states it^ 
and endeavors to show that his views do not tend to it. 

'' To the doctrine of this discourse I am aware that it 
may be objected, that it is calculated to lower the standard 
of the gospel, to diminish our apprehensions of the evil of 
sin, to make it less burdensome to the conscience, and to dis- 
parage the importance of the mission of Christ as a remedy 
for the sinfulness of mankind. Serious and religious minds 
may fear that it tends to the development of such a reli- 
gious philosophy as that so widely propagated of late in 
Germany by Hegel, which represents sin as not only i?ici- 
dent to human nature, but one of the ajipointed means 
of its development mid perfection.^ ^ 

In his reply he concedes and endeavors to show that sin 
is not by any means so great an evil as it is represented by 
the orthodox. He then adds : '' But it does not follow, 
because no sin is an infinite evil, and no sin can merit an 
infinite punishment, that it is no evil at all^ and does not 
deserve any punishment. Nor does it follow, because pun- 
ishment is remedial and inflicted for the purpose of curing 
sin, that it is as well to sin and suffer for it, as to keep the 
law of God and avoid both the sin and the suffering." He 
speaks of it, however, chiefly as an evil to the sinner, and 
sums up his views in the following brief statement : 

" The condition of man, then, here on earth, as in a state 
of moral probation, amounts to this. God has given him 
two chances for happiness ; — one, through sinless obedience ; 
the other, through repentance and reformation, — in short, 
through moral discipline. Human imperfection renders 


the first impossible, and therefore God has kindly provided 
the second." 

This involves, of course, the doctrine that the nature of 
free agency is such, that to form a perfect character through 
sinless obedience is, in the nature of things, impossible. It 
cannot be done except through a process of sinning, and of 
consequent moral discipline and repentance. Certainly 
such views, even if they differ in some respects from those 
of Hegel, do, nevertheless, so depress our ideas of the evil 
of sin, that men of deep Christian experience, who know 
its evils and its power, will be likely to feel that there is 
very little to choose between the two views. 

Of course, there will be men of deep Christian conscious- 
ness who Avill feel that such views imply a false standard 
of the true life and health of the soul. They do not, in 
their view, probe its diseases thoroughly; they cannot, 
therefore, effect a radical cure. Whenever a standard is 
taken so low as to represent the fearful and gigantic devel- 
opments of human depravity in this world as the result of 
human limitation, ignorance and frailty, in a mind naturally 
pure, and not of deep innate depravity, the highest vitality 
and power of religion is rendered impossible. Until it aims 
at a radical regeneration, it has no adequate end : it effects 
nothing of any moment, and, in the great conflict with the 
real and earnest and gigantic depravity of earth, it will be 
trodden under foot and despised. 

Hence, although such views are derived from and depend 
upon the true and powerful principles of honor and right 
as applied to a misadjusted system, yet the steady testi- 
mony of fact, the Bible and Christian consciousness, 
produces a constant reaction, which, on a great scale, has 
prevailed against them, and ever will prevail. Even the 
power of the most obvious first truths will not ever avail 


universally to eradicate from the minds of men a belief of 
the great fact of innate human depravity in its most pro- 
found and radical form, and of its connected facts. They 
are sustained by independent evidence of their own so 
strong that they will live. But equally powerless will 
argument be universally to eradicate the views of those 
who reject those facts because so presented as to war with 
honor and right. Unless, therefore, in some way these 
truths shall be harmonized, there is a foundation laid for 
endless conflict and division. 



We now come to a third and most interesting experience. 
It is one -wliich results from holding unmodified, and with 
full faith and deep sensibihty, both the most radical facts 
concerning human depravity and the principles of honor 
and of right. 

Upon a certain portion of such minds the power of the 
principles of honor and right is so great, that, although 
they cannot cease to believe the facts as to human depravity, 
yet they shrink from carrying out the system of Chris- 
tianity to its full and scriptural results, and take refuge in 
the doctrine of universal salvation. It is well known that 
the prevailing opinion of the great body of evangelical 
Christians, in all ages, has been opposed to this doctrine. 
This has resulted from a full conviction that the testimony 
of scripture is decidedly against it. Yet, so urgent and 
powerful are the principles of honor in some minds, that, 
in view of the common doctrine concerning the alleged 
dealings of God with man through Adam, they have been 
unable to rest in any result short of universal salvation. 
But it is not till after many struggles and much suffering 
that they finally come to this conclusion. The experience 
of such has found an eloquent utterance in the words of 
the truly eminent John Foster : 


Of the intellectual and moral eminence of this distin- 
guished man it is unnecessary that I should speak. He 
occupies an unquestioned place among the most powerful 
writers of the English language. His friend and biogra- 
pher, J. E. E-jland, says of him, " He had that intellectual 
magic which summons from all points of the compass the 
most sudden and happy illuminations of thought. Images 
arose on all sides at the master's bidding ; nor did he hesi- 
tate to call them from the loftiest region or the lowest." 
John Sheppard, another intimate friend and pupil, says of 
him, '' Few spirits can have passed away from earth 
endowed with more of intellectual grasp and penetration, to 
meet the wonders and grandeurs of regions immense and 
untraversed; few, also, I believe, with a more profound 
persuasion that, as creatures, however endowed, admired or 
dignified, ' in ourselves we are nothing.' " But, vast as 
were his powers, they did not elevate him in spirit above 
the feeblest and most lowly of our race. His feelings ever 
tended to sympathy with the weak and the oppressed. 
Hence his biographer says of him, " He was remarkable 
for civility and kindness to small tradesmen and work- 
people ; he used to complain that women were generally 
underpaid, and would often give them more than they 
asked. He abhorred driving a bargain with poor people. 
When sometimes shown small wares brought to the door for 
sale, on being told the price, he would say, ' 0, give 
them a few pence more ! See ! there 's a great deal of 
work here ; it must have taken some time to make.' And 
he would turn the article — whatever it might be — in every 
direction, and find out all the little ingenuities and orna- 
ments about it." These small facts reveal great principles. 
They give us an insight into a great and noble spirit. They 
reveal a mind so keenly sensitive to the principles of honor 


and of right that over it their influence must have been 
supreme. They furnish, therefore, the key to the ex- 
perience which we are about to disclose and illustrate. 

The occasion on which Foster expressed his views was 
this : 

In the year 1841 a young minister wrote to him a state- 
ment of his inquiries and difficulties on the subject of the 
eternity of future punishments. In reply, he concedes the 
almost universal judgment of divines in affirmation of 
the doctrine, and that the testimony of scripture for it is 
" formidably strong." Yet, solely on the basis of what he 
calls " the moral argument," he rejects the doctrine. On 
what, then, is this argument based ? Plainly, on a view of 
the facts concerning the origin of man's depravity. 

By this I mean that the facts which have been stated as 
held by the orthodox concerning the conduct of God towards 
new-created minds, both with regard to their original con- 
stitutions and their circumstances, so deeply affected and 
pained his benevolent spirit, that, seeing no way to answer 
the arguments which sustained the system of which those 
facts were a part, he sought relief in the doctrine of univer- 
sal salvation. 

That this process was not a logical vindication of God, in 
the acts in question, is plain; but it gave at least this relief, 
that it represented God as not adding an eternal and still 
greater wrong to that of which he appeared already to have 
been guilty. But of this I shall speak again. My present 
object is to show how the mind of Foster sought relief 
under a system so misadjusted as to bring the conduct of 
God towards man into actual conflict with tne principles of 
honor and right. 

In his reply to the young clergyman, he first illustrates 
the fearful idea of eternity, and then thus proceeds : 


'' Then think of man, — his nature, his situation, the cir- 
cumstances of his brief sojourn and trial on earth. Far be 
it from us to make light of the demerit of sin, and to 
remonstrate with the supreme Judge against a severe chas- 
tisement, of whatever moral nature we may regard the in- 
fliction to be. But still, what is man ? He comes into the 
world iDith a nature fatally corrupt^ and powerfully tend- 
ing to actual evil. He comes among a crowd of tempt- 
ations adapted to his innate evil propensities. He 
grows up (incomparably the greater proportion of the race) 
in great ignorance ; his judgment weak, and under number- 
less beguilements to error, while his passions and appetites 
are strong ; his conscience unequally matched against their 
power, — in the majority of men, but feebly and rudely 
constituted. The influence of whatever good instructions 
he may receive is counteracted by a combination of oppo- 
site influences almost constantly acting on him. He is 
essentially and inevitably unapt to be powerfully acted 
on by what is invisible and future. In addition to all 
which, there is the intervention ayid activity of the great 
tempter and destroyer. In short, his condition is such 
that there is no hope of him, but from a direct special 
operation on him of what we denominate grace. Is it not 
so 7 Are we not convinced? Is it not the plain doctrine of 
scripture ? Is there not irresistible evidence, from a view 
of the actual condition of the human world, that no man 
can become good, in the Christian sense, can become fit for 
a holy and happy place hereafter, but by this operation, ab 
extra 7 But this is arbitrary and discriminative on the 
part of the sovereign agent, and independent of the will of 
man ; and how awfully evident is it that this indispensable 
operation takes place only on a comparatively small propor- 
tion of the collective race ! 


''Now, this creature, thus constituted and circumstanced, 
passes a few fleeting years on earth, — a short, sinful course, 
in which he does often what, notwithstanding his ignorance 
and ill-disciplined judgment and conscience, he knows to be 
wrong, and neglects what he knows to be his duty, and 
consequently, for a greater or less measure of guilt, widely 
different in different offenders, deserves punishment. But 
endless punishment ! hopeless misery through a duration to 
which the enormous terms above imagined will be nothing ! 
I acknowledge my inability (I would say it reverently) to 
admit this belief, together with a belief in the divine good- 
ness, — the belief that ' God is love,' that his tender 
mercies are over all his works. Goodness, benevolence, 
charity, as ascribed in supreme perfection to Him, cannot 
mean a quality foreign to all human conceptions of good- 
ness. It must be sometlmig analogous in 'principle to 
what himself has defined and required as goodness in 
his moral creatures^ that, in adoring the divine goodness, 
we may not be worshipping an ' unknown God.' But, if 
so, how vfould all our ideas be confounded while contem- 
plating him bringing, of his own sovereign will, a race of 
creatures into existence in such a condition that they cer- 
tainly will and must, — must, by tlieir nature and circum- 
stances, — go wrong and be miserable, unless prevented by 
especial grace, which is the privilege of only a small pro- 
portion of them, and at the same time affixing on their 
delinquency a doom of which it is infinitely beyond the 
highest archangel's faculty to apprehend a thousandth part 
of the horror ! " 

On page 290 he presents similar views : 

"It would be a transcendently direful contemplation, if I 
believed the doctrine of the eternity of future misery. It 
amazes me to imagine how thoughtful and benevolent men 


believing that doctrinej can endure the sight of the present 
■world, and the history of the past. To behold successive, 
innumerable crowds carried 07i in the mighty impulse of 
a depraved nature, lohich they are impotent to reverse, 
and to which it is not the will of God, in his sovereignty, to 
apply the only adequate power, the withholding of which 
consigns them inevitably to their doom ; to see them pass- 
ing through a short term of mortal existence (absurdly 
sometimes denominated di probation), under all the world'' s 
pernicious influences, with the addition of the malign 
afid deadly one of the great tem.pter and destroyer, to 
confirm and augment the inherent depravity, on their speedy 
passage to everlasting woe; — I repeat, I am, without pre- 
tending to any extraordinary depth of feeling, amazed tc 
conceive what they contrive to do with their sensibility, and 
in what manner they maintain a firm assurance of the 
Divine goodness and justice.^'' 

In these passages we cannot but notice the clear and 
eloquent manner in which he combines the three great ele- 
ments wliich I have set forth as constituting the ruined 
condition of man; deep personal depravity anterior to 
action, exposure to corrupt worldly social combinations and 
influences, and the fearful wiles of evil spirits. 

We notice, also, the full faith with which he sets them 
forth. Scripture, experience, history, and his own obser- 
vation and Christian consciousness, appeared to him to unite 
their testimony to sustain this view of facts. 

At the same time, he was keenly alive to the demands of 
the principles of honor and right, and could not avoid seeing 
their contrariety to such alleged facts. The effect upon his 
mind he states in these affecting words, concerning the sys- 
tem of this world, — " To me it appears a most mysteriously 
awful economy, overspread by a lurid and dreadful shade/' 


Who does not see here the elements of an experience pre- 
cisely similar to that of Dr. Channing ? The facts contem- 
plated by Foster appeared to Channing, also, to present an 
" awful economy, overspread by a lurid and dreadful shade." 
Of course, such minds as these must find rehef somewhere 
from such a state of thino;s. Channino; renounced and 
denied the facts ; Foster's mind was unable to resort to this 
mode of relief. The facts he could not deny. The prin- 
ciples of honor he could not renounce. Hence, though he 
saw that it was at war with the almost universal opinion of 
the church and the clear words of scripture, he overruled 
the laws of interpretation, and rejected, on purely moral 
grounds, the doctrine of the eternity of future punishment. 

And are there not still other minds who feel these dif- 
ficulties, as well as Foster and Channing ? And will not 
such an appeal, presented with such eloquence, exert great 
power on many such minds ? Dr. Woods seems to be of 
this opinion. He says, -^ The thoughts suggested in the 
letter, together with the influence of the author's name, are 
adapted to unsettle the faith of imdtittides.''' Such an 
influence was no doubt deeply felt in England. Foster 
says : '' A number (not large, but of great piety and intel- 
ligence) of ministers within my acquaintance have been 
disbelievers of the doctrine in question, at the same time 
not feeling themselves called upon to make a public dis- 
avowal. ' ' How many more there may have been, or may still 
be, in the same state of mind, of course no one can tell. But 
the belief that many real Christians held such views caused 
in England, as is well known, a great reluctance, even 
among the believers of the doctrine, to introduce it as a 
test in the Evangelical Alliance. I know of no reason to 
be confident that the views of Foster will not also make 
converts even among the evangelical ministers of our own 


land, so strong is the appeal to tlie principles of honor and 
right, in view of the facts of human depravity as exten- 
sively held. I am aware that many suppose that a more 
correct theory of free agency, — - as applied to the facts of 
depravity, — would have relieved Foster, and is, among us, 
a defence against the spread of his views. Of this we can 
better judge after considering the next experience. 

There is not, however, in my judgment, any good reason 
to believe that the improved views in question would have 
given the needed relief to Foster. He appears to have 
considered the course of reasoning on which they rest, and 
to have derived from it no relief 

He says in his journal, No. 485 : " The very intelligent 
Mr. G. reasoned against the Calvinistic doctrine of original 
depravity" (that is, its most radical form) "evidently, I 
perceived, from his feeling respecting that of eternal pun- 
ishments. Believing this last, he was anxious — as a kind 
of palliation of its severity — to make man as accountable 
a being as possible, by making his vice entirely optional^ 
and so making all his depravity his crime." Foster, then, 
had looked at the principles of the system that resolves all 
moral depravity in man into voluntary action, and did not 
find in it the requisite relief He did not regard it as a 
true view of the real facts of the case. Nor did it hold 
him back from 'his appeal against the doctrine of future 
eternal punishment. 

But, whether this appeal shall extensively avail or not to 
shake the belief of the Christian community in that doc- 
trine, still it shows with what fearful power the principles 
of honor and right operate upon some of the most finely 
constituted minds of our race. It shows, also, that sym- 
pathy, and not severity, is due to all such minds, even if 
they fiill into error, when struggling under the painful 


pressure of a system involving trutlis so great, and yet so 
radically misadjusted. It evinces no less clearly that a 
proper readjustment of these truths is the only radical 
relief. It is in vain to attempt to suppress or to extermi- 
nate the influence of the principles of equity and of honor, 
or the efibr-ts of men to find relief from the conflict which 
exists between them and the facts concerning human 
depravity as commonly held. It is not without deep 
anguish and fearful struggles that such men as John 
Foster are impelled to force their way, by overruling 
scriptural testimony, to such results. There is an awful 
and affecting solemnity and earnestness in his words, which 
clearly indicates that his soul had been agitated to its lowest 
depths. It is affecting to think how many other minds of a 
like kind may have encountered struggles, similar at least 
in kind, if not in their results. Moreover, until the system 
is better adjusted, there will be a powerful tendency to the 
results at which Foster arrived. 



Powerful as is the appeal of John Foster, it is by no 
means adapted to control the convictions of the universal 
Christian community. Its power lies in the appeal to the 
principles of honor and right ; but there are other truths 
that will still assert their claim to be heard, and react 
against it. The Bible will ever powerfully react. 

In the next place, there is a Christian experience which 
so reveals the malignant nature of sin as to throw it out 
of the pale of lawful sympathy, as in its essential nature 
cruel, and tending to cruelty in the highest degree, so that 
to punish it implies in God no cruelty, but the reverse. 

Cruelty is that disregard of the feelings of others, or 
that infliction of suffering on them, which arises from the 
want of a proper benevolent interest in their welfare. It is 
not enough to prove cruelty that pain is caused. This is 
often done from the most benevolent purposes. In the 
education of children, to spare the rod is often cruel ; to 
inflict it, mercy. 

But especially to cause pain, however intense, by defeat- 
ing malevolent and cruel purposes, is not cruelty. If the 
plans of a seducer, or an assassin, or a slanderer, are 
exposed, and a retributive tide of moral emotion turned 
against them, they suffer. So is it — so must it ever be — 


when all sin is disappointed and exposed. The suffering 
thus caused is not a kind of suffering which can be felt 
ahke by good and bad, as is the burning of material fire, 
or the tortures of the inquisition. Such physical tortures 
could oe continued even after sorrow, regret, penitence, 
confession, and reformation. 

Such are the physical ideas which many entertain of the 
sufferings of hell. They came from that church which cre- 
ated and administered the inquisition, — that tremendous 
engine of cruelty, — and which consigned to endless misery 
all who refused to enter her pale, however holy they might 
be. Such a church would need to conceive of a hell whose 
torments should depend on material fire, against which 
holiness is no defence. Such ideas, too, have extensively 
infected the imagination of the Protestant world. 

But such is not the suffering caused by the exposure and 
punishment of sin. It is not merely positive or physical. 
Much of it is the result of the disappointment of sinful pur- 
poses, involving cruelty in their essential nature, and in all 
their tendencies towards God and man. Against suffering 
thus caused the law of moral sympathy in holy minds does 
not re 'let. 

A profound Christian experience, moreover, reveals the 
fact that the radical character of all men is selfishness, as 
opposed to the law of love ; and that this tends to cruelty, 
and is the great source of the cruelty that fills this earth. 
The great design of the gospel is by regeneration to remove 
this root of cruelty and misery. But, if it is not removed in 
this world, but is left forever to increase in strength, and to 
disclose its natural results, it will encounter God, be exposed 
and justly abhorred, and thus be rendered unutterably mis- 
erable ; and yet, by a kind of misery which is in its nature 
so malignant that it will repel all sympathy, and array 


against itself the reaction of benevolent justice. In short, 
the root of future misery will be the just defeat and exposure 
of the spirit of cruelty, by infinite love, armed with infinite 
power. This suffering will endure so long as selfishness, 
its cause, endures. To remove that cause is the great 
object of regeneration. The system of this world is adapted 
to produce that change. Future suffering, consisting, as it 
does, in malignant passions, is not adapted to produce it, but 
the reverse. There is, therefore, no reason why the future 
suffering of such as die in sin should ever end. 

A profound Christian experience naturally suggests this 
view, and it is so plainly sustained by the word of God that 
all doubt is removed. 

On the other hand, the law of God, by forbidding selfish- 
ness and enjoining love, is seen to be, in effect, a prohibition 
of cruelty ; and its penalty a defence of the universe against 
such as refuse to love God and his creatures, but give 
themselves up to a spirit of selfishness, which, in its very 
essence and tendencies, is cruel towards God and all his 
creatures, and deserves to be exposed and abhorred in all 
who will not renounce it and return to the law of love. 

In addition to these considerations, as has already been 
stated, it is seen that Foster does not furnish the needed 
relief at the right point. The real difficulty is that God 
should give to any new-created beings corrupt moral consti- 
tutions, and then place them in circumstances of so great 
moral disadvantage. It is no relief to this to say that God 
will not punish them forever for the sins which originate 
in such a constitution and circumstances. This would be 
no compensation for wronging them at the outset. And, 
knowing by religious experience what sin is, and to what it 
tends, they choose to beheve the word of God as to its futuxe 
results, and to take refuge in faith and mystery with refer- 


ence to those dealings of God -which are so hard to under- 
stand and defend, as to the original constitutions and cir- 
cumstances of the human race, rather than to disregard the 
plain teachings of the Bible as to future punishment. Even 
Foster conceded that the obvious language of the Bible was 
strongly adverse to his views. This, to the largest portion 
of true Christians, will ever be decisive. God knows best 
what will be the future state of sinners. He has a complete 
view of the whole case. It is wisest and safest, as well as 
our duty, to trust him. Thus will the great body of the 
Christian community continue to reason. 

It is not to be expected, however, that all even of true 
Christians will be able to find relief in this course. Others 
will not improbably feel impelled to obtain relief by reject- 
ing the doctrine of future eternal punishment. Nor, till 
there is a better adjustment of the facts and principles of 
the system, will this powerful tendency to conflict and 
division cease. The doctrine of the eternity of future pun- 
ishments will not ever be generally repudiated, so clear are 
the revelations of Christian consciousness as to sin, and so 
strong is the scriptural argument by which the doctrine is 
sustained. On the other hand, till some better adjustment 
is made, it will be impossible to prevent some, even of the 
most pious, from seeking relief by following in the steps of 
John Foster. 



We come now to an experience of great interest and 
importance, in consequence of the controversies to which it 
has given rise, and the extended results which still flow from 
it. It is that experience in which, in some form, a constant 
appeal is made to the principles of honor and right, to 
modify or correct certain parts of the Old School doctrine 
of the ruined state of man, whilst, at the same time, an 
earnest effort is made fully to retain and inculcate the real 
and essential facts of human depravity, yet so as to accord 
alike with those principles and with the word of God. 

It derived its origin from no predisposition to subject the 
doctrines of God's word to any processes of cold and heart- 
less rationalism. Its present developments originated with 
one of the holiest men whom God has ever raised up to 
illuminate and bless the church and the world. The deep 
Christian experience of Edwards has already called forth 
our grateful recognition of the goodness and sanctifying 
power of God, as manifested in him. We now add that it 
was this holy man who gave the first impulse to the great 
movement which we are now considering. 

The occasion of its commencement was the interruption 
of the plain, direct and faithful preaching of the gospel, 
which had been caused by the doctrine of the entire ina- 


bility of the sinner to perform the spiritual duties of repent- 
ance and faith, upon which his salvation Avas suspended by 
God. This doctrine was carried out logically. 

In New England, to a great extent, the practice of urging 
sinners to immediate repentance and faith, as reasonable and 
practicable duties, had ceased. In place of it, men were 
directed to use the means of grace with moral sincerity, and 
to pray to God that he would interpose and do for them 
that which they were unable to do for themselves. Uncon- 
verted men were encouraged to enter into either a full or a 
partial covenant with the church, and to cherish the idea 
that thus, at least to a certain extent, they were doing their 
duty. In this way, although the doctrine of entire depravity 
and absolute inability was retained in theory, it was virtu- 
ally denied in practice. The consciences of sinners were 
thus quieted, and urgent calls to immediate repentance had 
almost entirely disappeared. Meanwhile, errors of various 
kinds were rolling in like a flood. 

In England, in some circles, as we learn from the narra- 
tive of his own experience by Andrew Fuller, this same 
doctrine of the absolute inability of the sinner to perform 
spiritual duties had produced almost an entire cessation of 
preaching the gospel, in any form, to the impenitent. Ful- 
ler says of himself, " My father and mother were dissenters 
of the Calvinistic persuasion ; and were in the habit of hear- 
ing Mr. Eve, a Baptist minister, who, being what is here 
termed high in his sentiments, or tinged with false Calvin- 
ism, had little or nothing to say to the unconverted. I 
therefore never considered myself as any way concerned in 
what I heard from the pulpit." Again he says: "With 
respect to the system of doctrine which I had been used to 
hear from my youth, it was in the high Calvinistic, or. 
rather, hyper- Calvinistic strain, admitting nothing spiritu- 


ally good to be the duty of the unregenerate, and nothing 
to be addressed to them in a way of exhortation, excepting 
what related to external obedience. Outward services 
might be required, such as an attendance on the means of 
grace, and abstinence from gross evils might be enforced ; 
but nothing was said to them from the pulpit in the way of 
warning them to flee from the wrath to come, or inviting 
them to apply to Christ for salvation." Of himself, when 
he first began to preach, he says: " Those exhortations to 
repectance and faith, therefore, which are addressed in the 
New Testament to the unconverted, I supposed to refer 
only to such external repentance and faith as were within 
their power, and might be complied with without the grace 
of God. The effect of these views was, that I had very 
little to say to the unconverted ; indeed, nothing in a way of 
exhortation to things spiritually good, or certainly connected 
with salvation." Around him, too, on every side, fatal 
errors were triumphant. 

Here, then, was an emergency, and in meeting it Ed- 
wards was God's chosen instrument in America, and Andrew 
Fuller in England. The great principle from which this 
reaction against the paralyzing and ruinous errors which 
have been stated derived its life and energy was, that the 
inability ascribed to the sinner in the Bible was not an 
absolute inability, caused by the want of natural powers, but 
solely a voluntary and inflexible aversion to duty; or, to use 
the technical terms adopted to express these ideas, it was 
not a natural, but a moral inability, consisting in a fixed 
unwillingness to do what God requires. Of course, so far 
from excusing the sinner, it did but enhance his guilt. 
Neither did it furnish any reason why the sinner should 
not be urged, by every possible motive, to the immediate 
performance of his duty. This at once gave directness, 


pungency and power to preaching, and led the way in 
extending those great revivals of religion which began under 
the preaching of Edwards. The principles were first devel- 
oped by Edwards, and carried out and applied by Hopkins, 
Bellamy, and others of kindred \aews. In England, Fuller 
at first began to investigate the same questions without aid, 
but, being directed to the works of Edwards, adopted his 
principles and results. Edwards, inconsistently, still held 
to a sinful nature, but Hopkins consistently developed from 
these principles, and from the treatise of Edwards on the 
nature of true virtue, the doctrine that all sin and holiness 
consist in voluntary action, and that the essence of holiness 
is disinterested benevolence, and of sin is selfishness. He 
also rejected the doctrine of imputation, or of a forfeiture of 
the rights of the human race by the sin of Adam. Thus 
were the foundations of New School theology laid by men 
of deep Christian experience, and in view of ends of the 
highest moment. It was the theology of revivals. 

When Unitarianism subsequently developed itself, the 
advocates of this system constantly endeavored so to pre- 
sent it as to escape the pressure of hostile arguments derived 
from the principles of honor and of right, by rejecting all 
that appears to be irreconcilable with them. Under such 
influences, the system has reached its present condition. The 
advocates of these views have had no disposition to relinquish 
or to weaken the doctrine of depravity. On the other hand, 
the voice of their own Christian consciousness, the word of 
God, and the testimony of history, have confirmed them in 
its belief and defence. But they have, nevertheless, made 
unwearied efforts to reconcile it with the principles of equity 
and honor, so as to remove, if possible, the conflict which 
had, in the case of the Unitarians, led to results which they 
regarded as alike mournful and calamitous. 


Briefly stated, then, tlieir fundamental peculiarities are 
these : They deny the imputation of Adam's sin to his pos- 
terity, — that is, they deny that God regards as their act 
that which was not their act, and that on this ground he 
inflicts on them the inconceivably severe penalty alleged 
by the Old School divines. They also deny the existence 
in man of a nature in the strict sense sinful and deserving 
of punishment anterior to knowledge and voluntary action, 
and teach that all sin and holiness consist in voluntary 
action. As a natural result, they also deny the doctrine of 
the absolute and entire inability of the sinner to do the 
duties required of him by God. The inability asserted in 
the Scriptures they hold to be, according to just laws of 
interpretation, merely a fixed unwillingness to comply with 
the will of God, which is not inconsistent with a real and 
proper ability to obey, but derives its character of inexcus- 
able guilt from the existence of such an ability. 

Any one who will read the writings of the advocates of 
this scheme will see at once that they resort as confidently 
to the principles of honor and of right for the defence of 
their peculiar views as either John Foster or the Unita- 
rians. The only difference is, either that they do not apply 
them to the same doctrines, or else not to the same extent. 
They do not from a regard to them, with Foster, reject the 
eternity of future punishment, nor, with the Unitarians, the 
doctrine of depravity, — but they do attempt so to modify 
the old statements of the latter doctrine, in view of them, 
as to represent the conduct of God towards his creatures in 
their fall as neither dishonorable nor unjust, and the doctrine 
of eternal punishment as not at war with benevolence and 
justice, and, therefore, as not incredible. 

These views, as they passed out of New England into the 
Presbyterian church, were encountered with the most 


decided hostility, and the doctrines of the old theology 
were inculcated, often in forms the most repulsive and 
c-dious to the New School divines. 

As was natural in such circumstances, the emotions and 
the language of the advocates of these views, in refuting 
what they regarded as so injurious, were often no less vivid 
and powerful than those of the Unitarians in refuting what 
they regarded as the pernicious errors of orthodoxy. We 
have considered the language of Dr. Channing. Compare 
with this the language of Whelpley, in his celebrated 
Triangle. Speaking of the course of events in the city of 
New York, he says : ''You shall hear it inculcated from 
Sabbath to Sabbath, in many of our churches, that a man 
ought to feel himself actually guilty of a sin committed six 
thousand years before he was born ; nay, that, prior to all 
consideration of his own moral conduct, he ought to feel 
himself deserving of eternal damnation for the first sin 
of Adam, y 

This, it will be seen, is the identical doctrine that Pascal 
and Abelard undertook to defend, at the sacrifice of our 
moral convictions of honor and right. Listen, now, to the 
emotions with which it is repudiated by this eloquent 
writer, as at war with equity and honor. 

" I hesitate not to say that no scheme of religion ever 
propagated among men contains a more monstrous, a more 
horrible tenet. The atrocity of this doctrine is beyond 
comparison. The visions of the Koran, the fictions of the 
Sadder, the fables of the Zendavesta, all give place to this 
— Rabbinical legends, Brahminical vag^'ies, all vanish 
before it." 

"The idea, that all the numerous millions of Adam's 
posterity deserve the ineffable and endless torments of hell, 
for a suigle act of his, before any one of them existedj is 


repugnant to tliat reason which God has given us ; is sul 
versive of all possible conceptions of justice." Concerning 
the doctrine of man's natural inability to do his duty, he 
uses the following strong expressions: "It is an insult 
to every man's unbiased understanding, — to the hght of 
his conscience." 

In like manner, the idea that God gives us a depraved and 
punishable nature anterior to knowledge and choice is by 
the same writer repudiated, on the same ground. The con- 
nection of these doctrines with that of a limited atonement 
he thus sets forth: "The whole of their doctrine, then, 
amounts to this : that a man is, in the first place, con- 
demned, incapacitated, and eternally reprobated, for the sin 
of Adam ; in the next place, that he is condemned over 
again for not doing that which he is totally and in all 
respects unable to do ; and, in the third place, that he is con- 
demned, doubly and trebly condemned, for not believing in 
a Saviour who never died for him, and with whom he has 
no more to do than a fallen angel." 

Of these doctrines he says that " they are calculated 
and tend to drive men to scepticism, deism, atheism, liber- 
tinism, nay, to madness." The reason is, that by " them 
the first principles of immutable and eternal justice are 
supervened and destroyed." 

He exposes the pretext that our moral intuitions — which 
condemn such views — are carnal or unsanctified reason ; 
and recognizes in them the voice of God. A similar strain 
of remark is very frequent in the advocates of these views. 
Indeed, they arejdirectly adapted to call into exercise seme 
of the deepest and most powerful emotions of the soul. 

It cannot be denied that, in many respects, these views 
give great relief to the mind ; and their appeal to the moral 


sense of the community is powerful, and, to no small extent, 

This system has not had so long a history, nor has it 
acted on so wide a scale, as the older system. But durino" 
its existence it has effected an incalculable amount of good. 
It has exerted a penetrating and powerful influence on the 
Old School theology. It has acted as a counterpoise against 
its tendencies to paralysis and inaction, and rendered it 
more direct and aggressive in its appeals to sinners. It 
early exploded the idea that unregenerated men could prop- 
erly be received as members of churches, or assume the 
office of preaching the gospel. It elevated the standard of 
piety and activity in the clergy and in the churches. It 
aroused and developed great intellectual activity in theolog- 
ical investigations. Its great idea is, the power and duty of 
holy action. It has accordingly communicated an impulsive 
energy to every interest and department of society. 

It has, moreover, been instrumental in arousing the atten- 
tion of multitudes to religion, and exciting them to earnest 
efforts, and leading them to true repentance and faith. And, 
in connection with its development, and under the influence 
of its advocates, the modern system of benevolent enter- 
prise came into existence and was matured and established. 
The system, therefore, contains in itself many elements of 
great, varied and lasting power. Yet it has not succeeded 
in uniting the Christian community ; nor, thus far, does it 
seem to be approximating towards it. It has not super- 
seded a reaction ; it has always been violently opposed, and 
is no less so now than at any other time. 



The reasons of the reaction which has been referred to 
I now proceed to unfold. The denial of a depraved 
nature — in the proper sense — before action, is regarded 
by many as either leading to a doctrine of divine efficiency 
in the production of sin, which, in their view, reason and 
the moral sense repudiate ; or else to the doctrine that the 
cause of man's entire actual depravity is an innocent na- 
ture, and circumstances. 

It is obvious that, assuming the fact of the universal 
and entire actual depravity of the human race as soon as 
they begin to act, some cause ought to be assigned for a 
result so contrary to reason, interest and right. But, after 
rejecting the theory of imputation and of a sinful nature, 
in the proper sense of the term, nothing seems to remain 
but an innocent nature so affected by the fall of Adam as 
always to lead to sin, or else a stated exercise of divine 
efficiency to produce sinful volitions in every human being, 
from the beginning of his existence. Accordingly, some 
have taken one of these grounds, and others the other. 

With regard to the second of these schemes, it is plain 
that it really denies that there was any influence or agency 
in the sin of Adam to produce universal sin, except that 
it was merely the condition on which God suspended the 


determination of his own stated mode of action in causing 
sin or holiness. If Adam had obeyed, then God, by direct 
efficiency, would have statedly caused obedience in all his 
posterity ; but, as he sinned, God statedly causes sin. This 
view is adopted and defended as necessary, on account of 
a theory of free agency, which denies to any moral agent 
the power of choice, except through the agency of God to 
cause him to choose, and which asserts the exercise of the 
same divine agency in sinful as in holy choice. Some 
eminent men have, I concede, reconciled their reason and 
moral sense to this view. 

The considerations which chiefly recommend it are its 
simplicity, its entire rejection of a depraved nature in any 
form, its complete resolution of all sin into voluntary action, 
and its apparent tendency to exalt the sovereignty of God. 
Some of the bold language of scripture also seems, at first 
sight, to sustain these views. But it never has been able 
to recommend itself to the universal Christian community. 
In fact, it results in this : that God, as a sovereign, and for 
general ends, first caused Adam to sin, and then, because 
he sinned under the power of this divine efficiency, he^ pro- 
ceeded by a like efficiency to cause all of his posterity to 
sin in all their actions, and always continues so to do, 
except when he sees fit to cause holy actions by the same 
divine energy. 

This view is properly rejected by numerous opponents, on 
tlie ground that it would be unjust to reward or punish 
volitions so created; that it tends to destroy a sense of 
accountability, and that it is inconsistent with all just ideas 
of free agency and the liberty of the will. 

We come back, then, to the idea of a deteriorated consti- 
tution, which, though not sinful or punishable, is yet the 
certain, uniform, and universal cause of sin. 


To tliis view the Old Scliool divines object on two 
grounds : first, that, however plausible the argument from 
the principles of honor and right, it nevertheless denies, 
under the name of physical depravity, what are the actual 
facts in all men, as stated in scripture and revealed by 
experience, — that is, real depravity and strong sinful pro- 
pensities anterior to knowledge and action, — and that hence 
it gives a defective and superficial view of the real nature 
and power of original sin and total depravity. There is, 
as I have before said, an experience wdiich tends to lead to 
the belief of such deep original depravity. An example of 
this we gave in the case of Edwards. The depth of 
depravity in the regenerated heart seems to such, bottom- 
less, — far, far below anything introduced by a wrong and 
intelligent main purpose. History and observation seem to 
confirm these views. 

It was a spiritual consciousness of this fact which so 
deeply alarmed Dr. Nettleton, in view of the doctrine under 
consideration. He felt that the very foundations of ortho- 
doxy were destroyed ; and yet he could not make a logical 
defence against the arguments of Dr. Taylor, from the 
principles of honor and right, against physical depravity 
anterior to knowledge and choice. Nor can any one do it 
whilst the system of Christianity remains on its present 
basis. Yet the feelings and the experience will remain, 
and in many minds will overrule all arguments against 
them, even as they did in the case of Dr. Nettleton. They 
will also cause deep apprehension and alarm. Those who 
deny real inherent criminal depravity, anterior to voluntary 
moral action, will be regarded as abandoning original sin, 
and as on the high road to Pelagianism and Unitarianism. 
That they have no such purpose, their opponents, if candid, 
will concede : yea, that they intend to hold fast to the 


great cardinal doctrines of depravity and regeneration in 
the fullest sense. Yet, since they have abandoned the 
plea of mystery, and adopted the principles of honor and 
right, they regard them as having launched their system 
on a logical current, the tendencies of which they have 
not calculated, and the issue of which they do not fore- 
see. They see, either consciously or unconsciously, that the 
alleged principles of honor and right, as the system now is, 
directly tend to sweep away the true and deep doctrine 
of depravity and satanic influence, and to leave only a 
nominal and superficial depravity, which will not finally difier 
much from the position of sober Unitarians. 

It is a consciousness of this tendency which has aroused 
the Old School divines to oppose the progress of this sys- 
tem with so much earnestness and perseverance. Their 
feelings are clearly stated in the following letter of Dr. 
Nettleton to Dr. Woods. (Memoir, pp. 291—4.) 

Speaking of those who hold these views, he says, " They 
admit that there is a tendency or propensity to sin in the 
very constitution of the human mind, but they deny that 
this tendency is sinful." In consequence of this, he 
says, " They adopt a new theory of regeneration. It has 
been said by some that regeneration consists in removing 
this sinful bias, which is anterior to actual volition ; this 
they deny. But, whether we call this propensity sinful or 
not, all orthodox divines who have admitted its existence 
have, I believe, united in the opinion that regeneration does 
consist in removing it. * * No sinner ever did or ever 
will make a holy choice prior to an inclination, bias or tend- 
ency, to holiness. On the whole, their views of depravity, 
of regeneration, and the mode of preaching to sinners, can- 
not fail, I think, of doing very great mischief This ex- 
hibition overlooks the most alarming features of human 


depravity, and tlie very essence of experimental religion. 
It is directly calculated to prevent sinners from coming 
under conviction of sin. * * The progress of conviction 
is ordinarily as follows : — Trouble and alarm, 1. On account 
of outward sins. 2. On account of sinful thoughts. 
3. On account of hardness of heart, deadness and insens- 
ibility to divine things,— tendency, bias, proneness or pro- 
pensity to sin, both inferred and felt ; and this the convicted 
sinner always regards, not merely as calamitous, but as 
awfully criminal in the sight of God. And the sinner 
utterly despairs of salvation without a change in this pro- 
pensity to sin ; and while he feels this propensity to be 
thus criminal, he is fully aware that, if God by a sovereign 
act of his grace does not interpose to remove or change it, 
he shall never give his heart to God, nor make one holy 
choice. If the sumer has not felt this, he has not yet been 
under conviction of sin, or felt his need of regeneration." 

Of those who adopt the views which he is opposing he 
says: "They do in effect tell their hearers and their readers 
what the most godly Christians certainly find it the most 
difficult to believe, — that their propensity to sin, however 
strong it may be, is not criminal, but only calamitous ; that 
they need not be alarmed at this awful propensity to sin ; 
that they need not, for God does not. regard it with dis- 
pleasure. * Every step in the progress of conviction and 
conversion is in direct opposition to these sentiments." 

He then states strongly the tendency of such views to 
produce spurious conversions, and adds : " Piety never did 
and never w^ill descend far in the line of such sentiments. 
Were I to preach in this manner, I do solemnly believe that 
I should be the means of healing the hurt of awakened sin- 
ners slightly ; of crying peace, peace, when there is no peace, 


and of throwing the whole weight of my ministerial influence 
on the side of human rebellion against God." 

No one can properly refuse to honor the deep experimental 
feeling which prompted these remarks, and the sincerity 
and earnestness of the protest against the views in question. 
Kor are such sentiments and feelings confined to Dr. Net- 
tleton. Many sympathize with him. Dr. Woods, in his 
lectures recently pubhshed, has enforced similar views. 
The same is true of the writers in the last series of the 
PanopUst. On this ground we explain then- fear of ration- 
alism, and of the intuitive principles of the Scotch philos- 
ophers ; for their great difficulty is to refute the argument 
from the intuitive principles of honor and right, against a 
depraved nature before choice. The Princeton divines pur- 
sue the same strain of argument, and so do all who sym- 
pathize with them in New England; especially Dr. Dana, in 
his letter to Professor Stuart, and in his recent Appeal. 

Nor is this all. It is still further alleged that so long as 
the doctrine of a deteriorated nature, resulting in tlie 
universal certainty of a consequent actual and total deprav- 
ity, is retained, there is no real relief gained in respect to 
the alleged conflict with the principles of honor and right. 

This objection to this view is sustained by the allegation 
that the chief difficulty lies more in the thing done than in 
the mode of doing it. 

The thing done is this, as is agreed on both sides. God, 
in consequence of Adam's a,ct, — an act preceding the personal 
existence of all men, — has, in some way, brought it to pass 
that all men, without fail in any one case, do sin and come 
into a state of utter and endless ruin, unless they are saved 
from it by supernatural and special grace. Moreover, it is 
conceded that it was God's purpose and design to effect this, 
and in some way he established a system or a constitution 


by which it has been effected. In this fiict, it is said, — a fact 
conceded by both sides, — the main and great difficulty lies. 
In removing this difficulty, Professor Hodge says that every 
theory that denies imputation is less effectual than the doc- 
trine of imputation. Under this statement he includes the 
theory of a depraved and criminal nature before action, a 
deteriorated constitution leading to sin, and a divine system 
or constitution leading to sin. Professor Hodge says : 

"How is it to be reconciled with the divine character, 
that the fate of Tinhorn millions should depend on an act 
over which they had not the slightest control, and in which 
they had no agency 7 This difficulty presses the opponents 
of the doctrine (of imputation) more heavily than its ad- 
vocates." These views are sustained by the Princeton re- 
viewers. God, they say, must produce such results either 
on the ground of justice or of sovereignty. The defenders 
of imputation take the ground of justice. Their opponents 
that of sovereignty. This, they say, greatly aggravates the 

"Is it more congenial with the unsophisticated moral 
feelings of men that God, out of his mere sovereignty, should 
determine that because one man sinned all men should sin, 
that because one man forfeited his favor all men should 
incur his curse, or because one man sinned all should be 
born with a contaminated moral nature, than that, in virtue 
of a most benevolent constitution, by which one was made 
the representative of the race, the punishment of the one 
should come upon alH " ^ 

Against the theory of mere sovereignty Professor Hodge 
alleges that, " It represents the race as being involved in 
ruin and condemnation, without having the slightest pro- 
bation." The same allegation is made elsewhere by the 


Princeton reviewers. (Princeton Theol. Essays, vol. ii. 
p. 159.) 

This allegation, of course, leads them to state what are 
the principles of honor and right, as it respects a ncAV- 
created being. We have already stated them, but will refer 
to them again. First, that to every such being a probation 
is due. " Is it not necessary (they say) that a moral being 
should nave a probation before his fate is decided? " Again, 
they state what is essential to a fair probation, and, in so 
doing, they distinctly recognize the binding force of two of 
the most stringent of the principles of honor and right 
which I have laid down. I mean those that relate to the 
original constitution and circumstances of a nevr-created 
being. Concerning these I assert that honor and right require 
that they be such as to render a favorable result of pro- 
bation to each individual hopeful, and not utterly im- 
probable and hopeless. In accordance with this, they say, 
* A probation, to be fair, must afford as favorable a pros- 
pect of a happy as of an unhappy conclusion." 

Is this condition complied with, say they, if God either 
gives a depraved nature, before action and trial, in con- 
sequence of a single act of Adam, done ages before they 
were born, and in which they did not participate, or if, 
before action or trial, he introduces into their original con- 
Ftitution predisposing causes of sin, so powerful and certain 
in their operation that they are sure to ruin all, unless 
counteracted by a divine interposition transcending all 
human power, and then exposes the possessors of such 
natures, even from their earliest years, through life, to the 
influences of sinful organizations ; and to all this superadds 
the fearful wiles of Satan and his hosts ? Or, if we resort 
to the idea of merely a divine constitution, intentionally so 
ordained as in some way to effect the same results, is the 


case any better? In the judgment of the Princeton divines^; 
not at all. They say, " Men are brought up to their trial 
under a ' divine constitution,' which secures the certainty 
of their sinning ; and this is done because an individual 
sinned thousands of years before the vast majority of them 
were born 1 Is this a fair trial 7 " 

Again, they say, " What greater evil for moral and im- 
mortal beings can there be than to be born ' contaminated 
in their moral nature,' or under a divine constitution which 
secures 'the universality and certainty of sin,' and that, too, 
with undeviating and remorseless effect? It is, as Coleridge 
well says, ' an outrage on common sense ' to affirm that it 
is no evil for men to be placed o?i their probation under 
such circumstances that not one of ten thousand millions 
ever escaped sin and condemnation to eternal death." 

It will, perhaps, be asked, how much better is that to 
which the Princeton divines resort as a justification of God, 
in producing the facts in question ? This let every man 
decide for himself They resort to the idea that we had 
n fair probation in Adam. God (they s-ay) appointed 
him our federal head, and made a covenant with him, 
including us. His probation he regarded as our probation ; 
his sin as our sin ; his act as our act. Hence, from the 
beginning of our existence, he regards us as covenant 
breakers and rebels, withholds divine influences from us, and 
leaves us to the consequent and necessary corruption of 
nature, to actual sin, and to final ruin, unless grace inter- 
poses. I have already given my views of this effort at jus- 
tifying the alleged facts, and need, at present, to make no 
more remarks. I recur to it here for the sake of saying 
that, according to the Princeton divines, — and in this they 
are correct. — all the Reformers, had it not been for the 
assumption of such a probation, trial, failure, and con- 


deniDation iu Adam, would have felt it impossible to justify 
God in bringing men into existence -with depraved natures. 
Speaking of Mark, tbej say, " He, in common with all 
the Reformers, almost without exception, and the whole body 
of the reformed, constantly make the distinction between 
imputed sin and inherent corruption ; maintaining that the 
latter could not be eeconciled with God's justice 


This theory, it is interesting to notice, leads to modes of 
speech which seem to be designed to pay homage to the 
sense of honor and justice which God has implanted in the 
mind. Men are, therefore, spoken of as having been once 
upright ; as having had a fair probation ; as having failed 
in the trial ; as having broken the covenant, and revolted 
from God ; as having corrupted their natures, and justly 
exposed themselves to the anger of God. These forms of 
speech plainly evince what are the demands of honor and 
right, and are adapted to turn away the eye from the pain- 
ful realities of the case ; and thus enable those who think to 
justify God by them, and are affected by them, as if it were 
possible that the real facts could correspond with them, to 
see clearly that the theories of a corrupt nature before action, 
or a deteriorated nature always sure to lead to sin, or a 
divine constitution adapted and sure to lead to sin, are 
unjust to new-created minds. 

But, on the other hand, those v,'ho resort for relief to the 
theory that all sin consists in voluntary action, and that 
men, as free agents, have truly a real, though never ex- 
ercised, power to avoid becoming sinful from the first, see 
just as clearly that every possible form of the doctrine of 
imputation fails to justify the great conceded flicts of 
human depravity. The idea of a mysterious unity of all 
men in Adam, so as to make one great moral person, thus 


making the sin of Adam truly and properly that of every 
man, they reject as absurd, and in this the Princeton divines 
agree with them. The literal transfer of the moral charac- 
ter and personal guilt of Adam to all men, they reject ; and 
so do the Princeton divines. The doctrine that God, by any 
constitution or covenant whatever, can justly or honorably 
regard Adam's sin as the sin of thousands of millions who 
are and were confessedly innocent of it, as not being in 
existence when it was committed, and on the ground of such 
an unjust judgment inflict on them that which is of all evils 
the essence and the sum, they also very properly reject, 
though here their Princeton brethren do not agree with 
them. \ 

What, then, is the result? Two large bodies of most 
intelligent and pious men reject reciprocally each other's 
grounds for justifying the facts in question. It is certainly 
supposable, and not at all improbable, that both sides are 
correct in the allegation that the views of their opponents 
do thus war with honor and right. 

At all events, it is plain that the New School views do not so 
meet and satisfy the sense of- honor and right, in the advocates 
of the doctrine of imputation, as to remove deep conflict and 
division. A similar retort is made by Dr. Woods against 
the New School divines, in view of the fact that they 
reject the idea that God gives to his creatures a nature 
which is, in the proper and literal sense, sinful before 
action, as dishonorable to him, and at war with equity. To 
this Dr. Woods replies that the doctrine in question is not 
at. all worse than the doctrine that God gives to all men 
deteriorated natures, which, even if not strictly sinful, are 
yet sure to lead them into sin and ruin. This, it will be 
seen, is in accordance Avith the principles of Dr. Watts. 
Wesley, and the Reformers, that it is dishonorable and un- 


just (if there has heen no forfeiture of rights) to give to a 
new-created being a preponderating bias to sin. Dr. Woods 
urges his retort at great length. I will give a specimen of 
his mode of reasoning. 

In replying to the charge that it is unjust for God "to 
bring tnoral corriq?tion and ruin upon the whole human 
race merely on account of one offence of their commcn pro- 
genitor, and without any fault of theirs," he says : "And 
is there not just as much reason to urge this objection 
against the theory just named? Its advocates hold that 
God brings the whole human nice into existence without 
holiness, and with such propensities and in such circum- 
stances as will certainly lead them into sin ; and that he 
brings them into this fearful condition in consequence of 
the sin of their first father, without any fault of their 
own. Now, as far as the divine justice or goodness is con- 
cerned, what great difference is there between our being 
depraved at first, and being in such circumstances as will 
certainly lead to depravity the moment moral action begins'? 
Will not the latter as infallibly bring about our destruction 
as the former ? and how is it more compatible vv^ith the jus- 
tice or the goodness of God to put us into one of these 
conditions than into the other, when they are both equally 
fatal?" It is said that our natural appetites and propensities 
and our outward circumstances do not lead us into sin by 
any absolute or physical necessity; but they do, in all 
cases^ certainly lead us into sin, and God knows that they 
will when he appoints them for us. Now, how can our 
merciful Father voluntarily place us, while feeble, helpless 
infants, in such circumstances as he knows beforehand will 
be the certain occasion of our sin and ruin ? * =^ * 
What difference does it make, either as to God's character 
or the result of his proceedings, whether he constitutes us 


sinners at first, or knowingly places us in sucli circum 
stances that we shall certainly become sinners, and that 
very soon 7 Must not God's design as to our being sinners 
be the same in one case as in the other ; and must not the 
final result be the same 7 Is not one of these states of 
mankind fraught with as many and as great evils as the 
other 7 What ground of preference, then, would any man 
have 7 * ^^ * Let intelligent,- candid men, w^ho do not 
believe either of these schemes, say w^hether one of them is 
not open to as many objections as the other. It is said 
that all the feelings of our hearts revolt at the idea that God 
gives us a depraved, sinful nature at our birth, and that no 
man can believe this without resisting and overcoming his 
most amiable sensibilities ; and do not our moral feelings 
equally revolt at the idea that God creates us without 
holiness, and gives us at our birth such appetites and pro- 
pensities as he knows will forthwith bring us into a state of 
depravity 7 And have we not as much occasion to resist 
and overcome our amiable sensibilities in one case as in the 
other 7" (Woods, vol. ii. pp. 359—361.) 

The appeal of Dr. Woods to those who do not believe 
either of these schemes had already been fully met, as will 
be remembered, by Dr. Channing. After condemning the 
older form of the doctrine, which involves a depraved and 
punishable nature before action, he condemns, with no less 
severity, ' ' the more modern exposition, that we came from the 
hand of our Maker with such a constitution, and are placed 
under snch influences and circumstances, as to render certain 
and infallible the total depravity of every human being, 
from the first moment of his moral agency. Concerning 
this view, he says, "That to give existence under this con- 
dition would argue unspeakable cruelty, and that to punish 
the sin of this unhappily constituted child with endless ruiia 


would be a wrong unparalleled by the most merciless des- 

It is plain, then, that no real available and general 
harmony is effected by the positions of the New School 
party. Indeed, as we see, they satisfy neither the Unita- 
rians, as zealous advocates of honor and right, on the one 
hand, nor the thorough defenders of the innate depravity 
and utterly ruined condition of man, on the other. Both 
of these parties agree that a conflict with the principles of 
honor and right exists as truly in the new scheme as in the 
old. And, in addition to this, the Old School divines 
regard the denial of a real, inherent criminal depravity, 
anterior to action, as virtually an abandonment of the doc- 
trine of original sin, and as leading ultimately to Pelagi- 
anism and Unitarianism. 

But, on the other hand, the New School party relying, 
justly, on the self-evident principles of equity and honor, 
reject the theory of imputation and forfeiture on which the 
Old School party base their entire justification of God. In 
this they are sustained by the unanimous concurring opin- 
ion of the Unitarian party. Both of these parties agree 
that the fundamental position of the old theology is utterly 

With reference to the New School theology, I would here 
also say that it has, at least as held by certain minds and 
in certain circumstances, a tendency to degrade our concep- 
tions of free agency. To escape the pressure of the argu- 
ment against the theory of a deteriorated moral constitu- 
tion, that it is at war with equity and honor in God, some, 
who profess to hold the doctrines of the New School 
divines, take the ground that the moral constitutions of 
men are as good as the nature of free agency will allow. 
In this way they arrive at the same virtual degradation of 


free agency of which I have spoken when considering the 
tendencies of Unitarian theology. This is, virtually, a 
denial that there has been any fall of the race. But, cer- 
tainly, it is a ver^? low and unworthy conception of the 
capabilities of free agency to suppose that the mournful 
and deeply corrupt moral developments of this world are a 
fair illustration of its natural tendencies and results in the 
best and most uncorrupted minds. 

Even that Hegelian view of the necessity of moral evil 
as a means of education, whi^h Dr. Burnap was not willing 
to adopt, — though his views seem to approximate to it, — 
has an unpleasant similarity to the views of Dr. Bushnell. 
He teaches that '' if a child was born as clear of natural 
prejudice or damage as Adam before his sin, spiritual 
education, or, what is the same, probation, that which 
trains a being for a stable, intelligent virtue hereafter 
would still involve an experiment of evil; therefore, a 
fall and bondage under the laws of evil." Again, of 
Christian virtue he says : "It involves a struggle with 
evil, a fall and rescue. The soul becomes established in 
holy virtue as a free exercise only as it is passed round 
the corner of Ml and redemption, ascending thus unto God 
through a double experience, in which it learns the bitter- 
ness of evil and the worth of good ; fighting its way out of 
one, and achieving the other as a victory." It would 
seem, according to this, that such is free agency that a 
process of sinning is an indispensable part of a finished 
spiritual education in all minds. This certainly degrades 
free agency to the lowest point of the scale, and represents 
moral evil as a necessary means of moral education at all 
times, and in all worlds. But, if evil is thus necessary for 
such an end, how can a proper sense of its moral ill-desert 
be consistently retained? 


This error may, perhaps, have arisen from generalizing 
as true of all minds what is sometimes true of depraved 
minds. If inherent depravity exists, to act it out is some- 
times overruled to effect a cure. But, that sin is not neces- 
sary to develop undepraved minds, the case of the unfallen 
angels and of Christ plainly shows. 

On the whole, after thus considering the diverse systems 
which have resulted from an attempt to modify the facts so 
as to accord with the principles of honor and right, the 
following conclusion appears to be established : that though, 
so far as they rest on these principles, they all have inde- 
structible elements of power, yet they always give rise to a 
powerful reaction. Hence, though in certain aspects they 
have a decided logical advantage over the old system, yet it 
also, in other aspects, has a great power of assault, as 
opposed to them. The deep depravity of man, even before 
action, seems to find a response in facts in human con- 
sciousness and in the word of God. In particular, a deep 
Christian experience leads naturally to its belief The 
moral wants of man and Christian experience will ever 
give power to the deepest views of depravity : and, when 
the conclusions derived from the principles of honor and 
right begin to render the New School system superficial, 
there will be a reaction in some of the most experimental 
minds to deeper views. But, since these profound views 
cannot be harmonized with reason and the moral sense, as 
the system is now adjusted, the exercise of these powers 
with reference to them will be proscribed, and refuge will 
be sought in faith and mystery. From this result other 
minds wall again earnestly and decidedly react, and thus 
the conflict will be eternal. 



We now come to an experience which, in its full develop- 
ment, is less common than either of those which have been 
considered; but towards which, nevertheless, there are 
often strong tendencies. It is that experience in which the 
principles of honor and right, and also the facts concerning 
the depravity and ruin of man, are both retained, and yet 
without the perception of any satisfactory mode of modifi- 
cation and adjustment. In this case the mind comes, for a 
time, under the oppressive and overwhelming consciousness 
of existing, apparently, under a universal system which is 
incapable of defence, and under a God whom the principles 
of honor and of right forbid us to worship. 

We will first look at the tendencies to this state as illus- 
trated in the experience of an eminent theological writer, 
whose views we have before considered ; we refer to the 
celebrated John Foster. In a letter to that distinguished 
scholar and divine, Dr. Harris, President of Cheshunt Col- 
lege, Foster thus expresses himself: 

" I hope, indeed may assume, that you are of a cheerful 
temperament ; but are you not sometimes invaded by the 
darkest visions and reflections, while casting your view over 
the scene of human existence, from the beginning to this 
hour ? To me it appears a most mysteriously awful 
economy, overspread by a lurid and dreadful shade. I pray 


for the piety to maintain an humble submission of thought 
and feeling to the wise and righteous Disposer of all exist- 
ence. But, to see a nature created in purity, qualified for 
perfect and endless felicity, but ruined^ at the very origin^ 
by a disaster devolving fatally on all the race^ — to see it 
in an early age of the world estranged from truth, from the 
love and fear of its Creator ; from that, therefore, without 
which existence is a thing to be deplored, — abandoned to 
all evil, till swept away by a deluge, — the renovated race 
revolving into idolatry and iniquity, and spreading down- 
ward through ages in darkness, wickedness and misery, — 
no Divine dispensation to enlighten and reclaim it, except 
for one small section, and that section itself a no less 
flagrant proof of the desperate corruption of the nature ; — 
the ultimate, grand remedial visitation, Christianity, labor- 
ing in a difficult progress and very limited extension, and 
soon perverted from its purpose into darkness and super- 
stition, for a period of a thousand years, — at the present 
hour known and even nominally acknowledged by very 
greatly the minority of the race, the mighty mass remain- 
ing prostrate under the infernal dominion of which countless 
generations of their ancestors have been the slaves and 
victims, — a deplorable majority of the people in the Chris- 
tian nations strangers to the vital power of Christianity, 
and a large proportion directly hostile to it ; and even the 
institutions pretended to be for its support and promotion 
being baneful to its virtue, — its progress in the work of 
conversion, in even the most favored part of the world, dis- 
tanced by the progressive increase of the population, so 
that even there (but to a fearful extent, if we take the 
world at large) the disproportion of the faithtul to the 
irreligious is continually increasing, — the sum of all these 
melancholy facts being, that thousands of millions have 


passed, and thousands every day are passing out of the 
world, in no state of fitness for a pure and happy state 
elsewhere ; 0, it is a most confounding and appalling con- 
templation !" 

It is perfectly apparent that there was a powerful tend- 
ency in Foster's mind towards the state which has just 
been described. In looking over the scene of human exist- 
ence, he found himself sometimes invaded by " the darkest 
visions and reflections P The whole of the present dis- 
pensation appeared to him ' ' a most mysteriously aiofut 
economy^ overspread by a lurid and dreadful shadeP 
He still held fast to the belief that God is wise and right- 
eous. But it cost him many struggles to retain this aspect 
of his character, in view of the apparent facts of the case. 
"I pray for the piety," he says, " to maintain an humble 
submission of thought and feeling to the wise and righteous 
Disposer of all existence." But a connected view of the 
system as a whole, including the fall of the race in Adam, — 
their deep individual depravity, their subjection to corrupt 
social organizations and to the malign power of evil spirits, 
and their mournful history in all ages, was to him ' ' a 
'iuost confounding and appalling contemplation.'''' 

His biographer, J. E. Ryland, represents him as having 
here " advanced within the auful shadoio of a subject 
which seems partially to have obscured his perception of 
the ultimate ground of moral responsibility." I do not 
think that this is a full statement of the case. The expe- 
rience of Foster originated from the difficult}^ of reconciling 
the facts of the system, as a whole, with God's obligations, 
as a being of honor and justice, towards successive genera- 
tions of new-created minds. And it is plain that, if he had 
r.ot found relief in some way, he would have come into 
the dark shade of a system which he could see no mode of 


reconciling with honor and right ; and, under the govern- 
ment of a God whose character, as he saw it, he could not 
rationally reverence and adore. 

I know that the human mind A\ill earnestly struggle 
against coming into such a state. Yet, if the system logi- 
cally xcads to it, we ought not to wonder that minds which 
have a strong regard to logical consistency are sometimes 
forced into it. It was in view of such results that Dr. 
Channing said of Calvinism, ^' I know that on some minds 
it has the most mournful effects ; that it spreads over them 
an impenetrable gloom." Such would have been its lasting 
influence on Foster, had he not in some way found relief. 
But he immediately proceeds to state in what manner he 
found it possible to avoid such an entire eclipse of the 
character of God. 

" And it would be a transcendently direful contemplation, 
if I believed the doctrine of the eternity of future misery. 
It amazes me to imagine how thoughtful and benevolent 
men, believing that doctrine, can endure the sight of the 
present world and the history of the past. To behold suc- 
cessive, innumerable crowds carried on m the mighty 
impulse of a depraved nature, which they are impotent to 
reverse, and to which it is not the will of God in his sov- 
ereignty to apply the only adequate power, the withholding of 
Yvhich consigns them inevitably to their doom, — to see them 
passing through a short term of mortal existence (absurdly 
sometimes denominated a probation) under all the icorid's 
pernicious influences, with the addition of the malign and 
deadly one of the great tempter and destroyer, to con- 
firm and augment the inherent depravity, on their 
speedy passage to everlasting woe, — I repeat, I am, with- 
out pretending to any extraordinary depth of feeling, 
amazed to conceive what they contrive to do with their 


sensibility, and in what manner they maintain a firn. 
assurance of the Divine goodness and justice." 

We are now prepared to see what are the causes of the 
experience which we are considering, vfhen it is fully de- 
veloped. They are these : to have, from Christian experience 
and from the word of God, a conviction of the radical &cts 
as to the ruin of man, as clear and unwavering as the 
belief of one's own existence ; and, at the same time, to 
have an equally unwavering belief of the principles of 
honor and right, and of the demands made by them on God 
with reference to new-created beings, and to see the conflict 
between them, without any apparent mode of reconciliation. 

This is not the experience of a sceptic, or of a caviller. 
It sometimes takes place after years of deep and joyful 
Christian experience have purified the soul, and produced a 
full conviction of the inspiration of the word of God, which 
nothing can shake. 

In this state of mind, and whilst keenly sensitive to those 
demands of honor and right which pressed upon Foster, let 
the following things be true: that, after a careful examina- 
tion of all the theories of the Old School and the New School 
divines for vindicating the fall in Adam, and its results, they 
are rejected as insufficient; that an experience of the 
deep depravity of the heart, and the study of history arid 
the Bible, render impossible the adoption of the Unitarian 
theory ; that the theory of John Foster is wholly irrecon- 
cilable with the obvious tendencies of things, and the 
explicit testimony of the word of God; that in the rejection 
of the Bible there would be no relief, since the depravity of 
man, and his tendencies to irremediable misery, are as clear 
by the light of nature as by revelation; that, moreover, 
there is no rational ground for the rejection of the Bible, 
but full and ample grounds for its reception as an inspired 


communication from God; — let these things be true, and the 
things of which we speak will be the unavoidable result. 

The mind of any refined and educated man, and especially 
of a Christian man, recoils from the thought that God can 
be other than holy, just and good. Hence, Dr. Channing 
says, ''We can endure any errors but those which subvert 
or unsettle the conviction of God's paternal goodness. 
Urge not upon us a system which makes existence a curse, 
and wraps the universe in gloom ! " 

Yet views of the conduct of God may be presented, and 
for a time believed, which are, in fact, at war with the prin- 
ciples of honor and right, and which present to the mind a 
malevolent God ; and a consistently logical mind cannot 
escape the influence on its feelings of what it really believes. 
Although no Christian will ever, in fact, believe that God 
is dishonorable and unjust in his dealings with his creatures, 
yet his alleged acts may be such that he cannot rationally 
• be seen in any other light. Then is the sun of the universe 
for a time eclipsed, and the whole system seems, to use the 
words of Foster, '-to be overspread by a lurid and dreadful 
shade." How many ever pass in fact into this dark valley, 
I have no means of determining. It is not an experience 
that men are disposed to make public. I knew one man, of 
eminent piety, and distinguished as a clergyman, who had 
had trials of great severity from tendencies to such views. 
I have, however, a full knowledge only of what I have 
learned by experience. For a time the system of this 
world rose before my mind, in the same manner, as far as I 
can judge, as it did before the minds of Chanmng and Foster. 
I can, therefore, more fully appreciate their expression of their 
trials and emotions. But I was entirely unable to find relief 
is they did. The depravity of man neither Christian expe- 
rience, the Bible, nor history, would permit me to deny. Nor 


did reason or scripture afford me any satisfactory grounds 
whatever for antici^^ating the restoration of the lost to 
holiness in a future state. Hence, for a time, all was dark 
as night. 

If any one would know the full worth of the privilege of 
living under, worshipping, loving and adoring a God of 
honor, righteousness and love, let him, after years of joyful 
Christian experience, and soul- satisfying communion with 
God, at last come to a point where his lovely character, for 
a time, vanishes from his eyes, and nothing can be ration- 
ally seen but a God selfish, dishonorable, unfeeling. No 
such person can ever believe that God is such ; but he may 
be so situated as to be unable rationally to see him in any 
other light. All the common modes of defending the doc- 
trine of native depravity may have been examined and pro- 
nounced insufficient, and the question may urgently press 
itself upon the mind. Is not the present system a malevolent 
one '? and of it no defence may appear. 

Who can describe the gloom of him who looks on such a 
prospect 7 How dark to him appears the history of man ! 
He looks with pity on the children that pass him in the 
street. The more violent manifestations of their depravity 
seem to be the unfoldings of a corrupt nature, given to 
them by God before any knowledge, choice or consent, of 
their own. Mercy now seems to be no mercy, and he who 
once delighted to speak of the love of Christ is obliged to 
close his lips in silence, for the original wrong of giving 
man such a nature seems so great that no subsequent acts 
can atone for the deed. In this state of mind, he who once 
delighted to pray kneels and rises again, because he cannot 
sincerely worship the only God whom he sees. His distress 
is not on his own account. He feels that God has redeemed 
and regenerated liim ; but this gives him no relief. He feels 
as if he could not be bribed by the offer of all the honors of 


the universe to pretend to worship or praise a God whose 
character he cannot defend. He feels that he should in- 
finitely prefer once more to see a God whom he could 
honorably adore, and a universe radiant with his glory, and 
then to sink into non-existence, rather than to have all the 
honors of the universe forever heaped upon him by a God 
whose character he could not sincerely and honestly defend 
Never before has he so deeply felt a longing after a God of 
a spotless character. Never has he so deeply felt that the 
whole light and joy of the universe are in him, and that 
when his character is darkened all worlds are filled with 

Yet, during all this strange experience, he feels that he is 
in fact doing no dishonor to the true God. He knows that 
all true goodness, honor and love, in himself, came from thp 
word and spirit of that God ; and asks, could he thus have 
trained me, if he were not good, honorable and full of love 7 
Could he have trained me to hate himself? 

In contrast with this it would be appropriate finally to 
place the experience of one who retains all the radical 
facts as to human depravity, and the system that grows out 
of it, but passes from the deep gloom of the last experience 
into the sunshine of the divine glory, by discovering a mode 
in which these facts can be so adjusted as to harmonize with 
the principles of honor and right in God. The transition 
in my own case was as if, when I had been groping in some 
vast cathedral, in the gloom of midnight, vainly striving to 
comprehend its parts and relations, suddenly before the vast 
arched window of the nave a glorious sun had suddenly 
burst forth, filling the whole structure with its radiance, and 
showing in perfect harmony the proportions and beauties of 
its parts. But the rational basis of such an experience 
needs first to be seen, before the experience itself can be 





The reality, tlie nature and the power, of the great con- 
flict which I have undertaken to consider, are by this time 
sufficiently apparent. Who can estimate the amount of 
emotion and of suifering which the system of Christianity, 
as thus misadjusted, has caused in minds eminent alike for 
intellectual power and for benevolence? 

How sad to think of its influence for years upon such a 
mind as that of Foster ! How affecting the conflicts which 
it causes in the minds of ingenuous young men, trained to 
the love of free thought, and sensitive to the principles of 
equity and honor, when they find themselves impelled by 
these principles either to reject facts revealed by Christian 
consciousness and the Bible, or else to see dark clouds aris- 
ing to eclipse the character of God ! Under the present 
system they can take no position in which the action of 
their minds will not be, in some respects, forced, unhealthy 
and unnatural. To reject the thorough doctrine of deprav- 
ity, leaves the deep moral wounds of their nature unprobed 


and unhealed, and perpetuates the sufferings which pride, 
when not properly understood and eradicated, always 
causes. To retain the doctrine of depravity in its fulness^ 
and to war against honor and the principles of right in 
its defence, or by sophistry to evade their demands, or to 
sink into deep gloom with Foster, — either, though less per- 
nicious in its results, is nevertheless a course the necessity 
of which is deeply to be deplored. To spend centuries in 
a conflict on such points, without progress, is certainly a 
mournful waste of energy, enjoyment and usefulness. 

But a full idea of the magnitude of this conflict cannot 
be gained, till its historical development, through a long 
series of centuries, has been surveyed. To this survey it 
would seem to be natural and appropriate now to proceed. 

I am induced, however, to defer such a survey for the 
present, by the conviction that a consideration of the mode 
in which the system can be so readjusted as to remove the 
conflict is essential to a thorough aiid profound understand- 
ing of the various historical developments of that conflict. 

But, before entering directly upon the solution of the 
problem thus presented, to avert all misunderstanding, it is 
necessary first to state how much I propose at this point of 
the investigation to undertake. I propose, then, at this 
time, merely to show that there is, at least, one supposable 
mode in which the system can be so adjusted that both of 
the great moving powers of Christianity may be retained 
and fully developed, and yet made to act together in perfect 

A full and argumentative consideration of the evidence 
of its truth does not fall within the scope of my present 
purpose. At another time I propose to resume that point, 
and to enter carefully into a consideration of that part of 
the subject. But, as a preparatory step, it is sufficient for 


my presen: purpose to sliow tliat the solution wliich I sliall 
suggest is possible. It is no doubt true, as will soon 
appear, that the mere statement of it will incidentally effect 
much more than this : but I aim not so much at argument 
as at statement and exposition. 

For we are not to suppose that, in a case like the present, 
it is of no importance to establish merely the possibility 
of the mode of reconciliation in question. It will avail to 
show that the full belief of the truths on both sides, which 
have been brought in conflict, is not of necessity unreason- 
able. It will prove that they do not of necessity come into 
collision with each other. It will evince that there is at 
least one way in which they can be harmonized. If we can 
also show that there can be no other way, then doubtless 
the mode suggested is the true way. If we do not know 
this, and if we see no reason why there should not be other 
modes in which it can be done, then we are authorized to 
say that either in the mode suggested, or in some other way, 
they can be harmonized. 

I shall begin, therefore, with simply proposing a possible 
mode of reconciliation, and defer to a future time a full 
consideration of the question whether it is in fact the real 

At the same time, I Avould again advert to the truth that, 
in many cases, the mere fact that a certain adjustment of 
the parts of a system will harmonize the action of the 
whole is reasonably deemed to be a very strong presump- 
tion, or even a sufficient proof, that that is the true arrange- 
ment. If a certain number of wheels, levers and axles, were 
known to belong to one machine, and if, after repeated 
trials of various modes of combination, the parts of the 
machine had never worked harmoniously together, then the 
mere fact that a mode of combination which had at iast 


been pointed out would remove the conflict and develop the 
full power of the machine, would be regarded by all as a 
sufficient proof that it was the true and proper mode of com- 
bination. I cannot, therefore, even state the present solu- 
tion, without furnishing evidence of this kind, of greater or 
less degree of strength. 



There are two modes in whicli we may suppose tliat a 

problem of this kind can be solved. One by a direct and 

specific divine revelation in language ; the other by a 

study of the principles and component parts of the system 

itself We are obliged to resort to the latter mode in order 

"f to^ prove the being of a God, and the divine origin and 

^H\ inspiration Of his word. It cannot, therefore, be an unsafe 

^vV*^:lnode of proceeding, since it is at the basis of all our belief 

4 in a God and in revelation. 

For the present, I shall consider the problem now before 
us in the second mode, on the assumption that we are 
allowed by the word of God to solve it by simply consider- 
ing the principles and component parts of the system, and 
are not bound by any verbal statements of revelation to 
adopt any particular theory on the subject. 

To illustrate my meaning, I would refer to the true 
theory of the solar system. It is now conceded that there 
has been no solution of this system given in the word of 
God. The great Creator has made it known only by dis- 
closing to the human mind the principles and facts which, 
when viewed as a system, involve its truth. By the study 
and comparison and arrangement of these, it was at last 
discovered. God, by making the system as he did, and by 
placing the requisite principles and facts in the possession 


of men, did virtually, thougli not verbally, reveal to them 
the true laws of the universe. Newton, by studying and 
combining what God gave to men, at last interpreted the 

So I shall assume that, in this case, God has given to us 
the principles and facts, which, viewed in their relations, do 
reveal to us the true mode of harmonizing the great mov- 
ing powers of Christianity. These principles and facts he 
has given to us, not in any one mode, but in various 
modes. He has so made the mind that it gives us, by its 
intuitive perceptions, those great intellectual and moral 
principles which are at the basis of all possible knowledge. 
He has so made the body, and the material system around 
us, that they are to us a great and inexhaustible library of 
facts, principles and laws. He has given us, by his provi- 
dence, as developed in history, sacred and profane, rich and 
varied stores of truth. There we see his great moral sys- 
tem in operation. There we study the various theories of 
man with reference to it, and watch their results as reduced 
to practice. But, above all, God has revealed to us in his 
word facts and principles of the highest moment, and most 
extended relations. He there transcends the bounds "of 
sense and of time. He places before us the inhabitants of 
other worlds, and their relations to us. He discloses his 
own plans, in their eternal relations, and our connection 
with them. He unfolds to us the great fact that all things 
in this world centre and terminate in the redemption of the 
church. He discloses to us, moreover, the final and glori- 
ous destinies of the church in eternity. 

All the principles and facts placed before us, in these 
various ways, in fact belong to one and the same great sys- 
tem, the centre of which is that high and holy One of 
whom and through whom and to whom are all things. 


Moreover, in my present inquiries, I shall assume that 
God has so presented to us this system, taken as a whole, 
that by a careful study of it we may learn the great law 
of its harmonious action ; and that the Bible has said nothing 
designed to foreclose this mode of inquiry, or to confine us, 
by express verbal revelation, to any particular theory on the 

I know that this position has been denied, and will be 
disputed. In its proper place, therefore, I shall fully con- 
sider such denials, and endeavor to exhibit the real relations 
of the Bible to the subject. At present, however, I shall 
assume as correct the position concerning the Bible which 
I have laid down, reserving the proof of its truth to another 

On this assumption, then, I shall proceed to present 
what is certainly a possible mode of removing all conflict 
between the moving powers of Christianity ; that is, between 
those thorough views of innate human depravity, and sub- 
jection to the powers of evil, which are recognized as true 
and scriptural by men of a profound Christian experience, 
and the highest principles of honor and right, which a well- 
ordered mind intuitively perceives to be t"ue, and obligatory 
upon God as well as upon men. 



Before engaging in an undertaking as serious as that 
proposed, it is important to call to mind the great fact that 
sound logic and true benevolence are but a part of the 
influences by which the human mind is, or ever has been, 
in fact, controlled in forming its opinions. Even, there- 
fore, if I should succeed in presenting a solution in which 
truly logical and benevolent minds would be united, it 
would not follow, of course, that all division would cease, 
but only that it would cease among candid and reasonable 
good men. This is not possible as things now are, and 
therefore to make it possible is my great aim. 

But in a large portion of the religious community there 
are committals from which it is hard, if not impossible, for 
them to escape. I refer to the votaries of the Church of 
Rome in particular. That body was early committed to a 
false theory, and, by reason of her claim to infallibility, is 
cut off from alteration or retraction. Moreover, upon the 
minds of many, various illogical influences still exert great 
power. These flow sometimes from the imagination, some- 
times from the association of ideas, sometimes from pecuni- 
ary or social interests, sometimes from a bad heart. More- 
over, the solution before me will touch and affect a wide 
range of such influences and interests. It is not, therefore, 


reasonable to demand of me that I shall succeed in present- 
ing a solution which will, in fact, avert division among all 
men, of all moral characters, and in all states of mind, but 
that I shall present a solution adequate to avert division 
among benevolent and reasonable minds. Nor is it a con- 
dition that I shall be able at once to suspend the power of 
illogical influences proceeding from constitutional peculiari- 
ties, or pecuniary or organic interests, even among good 

In some good men the imagination is so inordinately pre- 
dominant that they are so governed by taste and poetry as 
to be almost insensible to the force of logic. Others are so 
impelled by imaginative emotions that they have no affinity 
for enlarged, calm and comprehensive logical views. In 
others the association of ideas has imparted to everything 
that has been, during their education, linked in with the 
system of the gospel, such an aspect of holiness,, that even 
errors are invested with all the sacredness of the truths 
with which they have been associated. Not only the 
Church of Rome, but all state churches, and great denomi- 
national organizations, exert an influence, upon the standing 
and means of support of all their members, so powerful that 
it tends to arrest or overrule the free action of the logical 
power, by an influence which is, in its essential nature, 
rather intimidating than illuminating or reasoning. In 
others, emotions of reverence and gratitude to great and good 
men of past ages, emotions in themselves very proper, are 
so inordinate as to render them incapable of admitting that 
any of their views can be erroneous. National prejudices, 
moreover, and denominational commitments, and the general 
state of society in any age, exert a great control over the 
action of the logical power. It is not a condition of the 
problem before me that I shall be able at once to suspend 


the influence of such causes, and to unite all men in one 
common view. It only requires that I give a reconciliation 
which is sound in principle, and will finally be recognized 
as such by all rational, impartial, and unbiased minds. 

Much less do the conditions of the problem require, as I 
have before said, that I shall be able to suspend the blind- 
ing povrer of a sinful aversion to the truth, or to neutral- 
ize the influence of a moral repulsion from the divine 
character which no reasonable view of things can harmon 
ize with God. There is such a thing as hating the truth 
by reason of sin. Of this our Saviour spoke when he said 
that men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds 
are evil. Pride and selfishness cannot be practically and 
heartily harmonized with the true principles of honor and 
right, for they are not themselves honorable and righteous. 
But those who are truly humble, benevolent and penitent, 
are disposed to see the truth. They are not indisposed to 
justify God, and to condemn themselves as sinners. There 
is, therefore, no moral obstacle in the way of a clear per- 
ception of truth in the minds of such. What they shrink 
from is not just humiliation and self-condemnation, nor 
any just views of the divine sovereignty, but allega- 
tions which, in their most candid and humble hours, seem 
at war with the honor and rectitude of God. From these 
they recoil, from the very fact that they love him with 
supreme afiection, and cannot endure to see his glory 
obscured. Our problem, then, has respect to such minds 
as these, and not to such as are in spirit still opposed to 
GoJ. It is in vain to try to satisfy the feelings of worldly, 
proud, conceited, selfish minds, continuing such, or to har- 
monize them with statements of their own deep depravity 
and guilt, and of the right of God to deal with them in 
accordance with the principles of a wise and benevolent 


sovereignty. Sinful feelings are essentially unreasonable, 
and lead to a dislike of the truth itself, however stated ; ana 
the difficulty caused by them cannot be remedied till they 
are removed. 

But those difficulties which are felt by truly sanctified, 
humble and reasonable minds, and the more in proportion 
as they become holy, humble and reasonable, are entirely 
of another kind ; and it is of the removal of these that we 
now propose to speak. 

The problem, therefore, has reference to benevolent, can- 
did, humble, logical, well-balanced minds, who, though 
keenly sensitive to all proper appeals to their feelings, are 
yet not governed by the association of ideas, nor by the 
imagination, nor by mere emotion, but desire to maintain a 
proper consistency and harmony between their intellectual 
and moral views and their emotions, and who cannot rest 
in systems made up of incongruous and self-contradictory 



I HAVE stated the character of the minds among whom 
I regard it as possible to produce harmonj. Let us 
proceed to consider the essential elements of harmony 
among such minds. First of all, then, I remark, that, m 
order to secure this result, it is obviously indispensable to 
retain all the facts which really belong to the system as a 
great whole. This is essential in order to avoid partial and 
one-sided views. The universal system may be compared 
to a machine composed of many wheels, which may be put 
together in various ways, by omitting one or more of the 
wheels ; but yet, there is always evidence that the true way 
has not been discovered, so long as all the wheels are not 
included, each in a place that makes it contribute to the 
common result to be produced by their joint action. Or, 
to resort for an illustration to a common game among chil- 
dren, the parts of the system are like the letters which 
compose a word, and are given out in confusion, to be 
united by the discovery of the word to which they belong 
Other words may be spelled by a part of them, but if any 
are omitted it is a proof that the true word has not been 

In like manner, if any of the real and great facts of 
God's system are omitted, no matter if the rest are so 


united as to make a system of some sort, it is plainly not 
the true system, nor can it harmonize such minds as those 
to whom my reasoning is directed. They will desire to 
take not one-sided, but enlarged and comprehensive views, 
and to include all the known or discoverable facts of God's 
system. To ilkistrate by an example: there are those 
who reject the Bible, in reality, on account of its deep 
views of human depravity, or of future punishment, or ol 
Satanic agency. Others, retaining it in name, on various 
grounds drop many of its doctrines. To a truly benevo- 
lent, logical and vrell-balanced mind, such a course can give 
no relief It is merely rejecting a large portion of the 
most important and best authenticated facts of the system ; 
and it results of necessity in limited, defective and one- 
sided views. 

The system, therefore, which satisfies a truly logical and 
well-balanced mind, will retain all the facts of the Bible, 
of history, of science, and of the philosophy of the human 
mind and body, as being, in fact, harmonious parts of the 
true system of which it is in pursuit. 

Moreover, in order to produce harmony, the system must 
be such as to give full and free play to all the convictions 
and em^otions which it is the design of Christianity to call 
into existence. In particular, it must allow the process of 
conviction of sin, humiliation and confession, to advance 
with such power, and to such an extent, as thoroughly to 
probe and radically to heal the moral diseases of the mind. 
The theory of sin and the facts concerning human deprav- 
ity must be so stated as to aid, and not to impede, the full 
development of the deepest forms of Christian experience. 
For the work of sanctification is the chief work of the Spirit 
of God, and, till its full demands are met, the most power- 
ful portion of Christian minds will never rest. In all ages 


the channel of power has been that of deep conviction of 
Bin, penitence and self-abasement before God. Any views 
which permanently obstruct this channel will cause a rise 
in tne streams of Christian emotion, till they are swept 
away. The fundamental facts as to the fallen and ruined 
state of man must be, therefore, retained with the utmost 

Nor must the full power of the invisible spiritual'enemies 
of the human race to flatter and deceive be hidden, so as 
to allow of delusive views of human power and self-orig- 
inated progress. On the other hand, the need of a super- 
natural divine agency must be recognized as essential, in 
order thoroughly to purify the soul, and to restore it to its 
normal relation to God. 

The reason of this is obvious. There is a correlation 
between the mind and God, which is the basis, so far as 
the mind is holy, of a sympathetic communion, designed 
and adapted to fill all the capacities and develop and perfect 
all the povy'ers. 

This is not merely natural, like the vision of the 
sun : but it is suspended on a manifesting power in God, — 
such that he can reveal or hide himself, as he will. 

This sympathetic communion cannot be perfect until the 
soul is entirely cleansed from sin ; for hohness in man is 
essential to a true conception of holiness in God, as well as 
to sympathy with it. Every one that loveth knoweth 
God, and he who loveth not knoweth not God ; for God is 
love. Nor can perfect love in God be comprehended, 
except by that perfect love which casteth out fear. 

Hence, as a matter of experience, seasons of deep con- 
viction of sin, mourning and self-loathing, precede seasons 
of eminent and joyful communion with God. It is this 
process of moral cleansing which fits the soul for commu- 


nion witli God. It also renders peculiar manifestations of 
divine favor safe to the Christian, since it increases the 
depth of his humihtj before God, and his conviction that 
he owes all that he has of moral excellence to the grace of 

Edwards says of himself: ''Often, since I lived in this 
town, I have had very affecting views of my own sinfulness 
and vileness ; very frequently to such a degree as to hold 
me in a kind of loud weeping, sometimes for a considerable 
time together ; so that I have often been forced to shut 
myself up. I have had a vastly greater sense of my own 
wickedness, and the badness of my heart, than ever I had 
before my conversion. It has often appeared to me that, 
if God should mark iniquity against me, I should appear 
the very worst of all mankind ; of all that have been since 
the beginning of the world to this time ; and that I should 
have by far the lowest place in hell." 

To this the editor subjoins in a note the following 
judicious remarks : 

" Our author does not say that he had more wickedness 
and badness of heart since his conversion than he had 
before ; but that he had a greater sense thereof Thus a 
bhnd man may have his garden full of noxious weeds, and 
yet not see or be sensible of them. But should the garden 
be in great part cleared of these, and furnished with many 
beautiful and salutary plants ; and, supposing the owner 
now to have the power of discriminating objects of sight : 
in this case, he would have less, but would see and have a 
sense of more. And thus it was that St. Paul, though 
greatly freed from sin, yet saw and felt himself as ' the 
chief of sinners.' To which may be added, that the better 
the organ and clearer the light may be, the stronger will be 
the sense excited by sin or holiness." 


This is but a natural result of the illuminating power of 
the divine Spirit, whilst engaged in the work of thoroughly 
purging the soul from the pollutions of sin. 

It is an experience like that of an eminent ancient 
saintj who exclaimed, ''I have heard of thee by the hear- 
ing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee ; wherefore, I 
abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes ! " 

The natural result of such seasons of mournino; for sin 
is divine comfort and communion in a still higher degree ; 
and such was, in fact, his experience. 

He says, in describing other parts of his religious life, 
" I have sometimes had a sense of the excellent fulness of 
Christ, and his meetness and suitableness as a Saviour ; 
whereby he has appeared to me far above all, the chief 
of ten thousands. His blood and atonement have appeared 
sweet, and his righteousness sweet; which was always 
accompanied with ardency of spirit, and inward strugglings 
and breathings, and groanings that cannot be uttered, to be 
emptied of myself, and swallowed up in Christ. 

" Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 
1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as 
my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contem- 
plation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraor- 
dinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator 
between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure 
and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescen- 
sion. This grace, that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared 
also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared 
ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to 
swallow up all thought and conception, — which continued, 
as near as I can judge, about an hour ; which kept me the 
greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping 
aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not 


otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated ; tc lie 
in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone ; to love him 
with a holy and pure love ; to trust in him ; to live upon 
him ; to serve and follow him ; and to be perfectly sancti- 
fied and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I 
have several other times had views very much of the same 
nature, and which have had the same effects." 

Such is the process by which the soul is conducted 
towards perfect holiness, and which it is essential that noth- 
ing be allowed to interrupt. 

But it is no less important that nothing shall be mingled 
with such views as shall misrepresent God, and make the 
system, logically viewed as a whole, a source of torture 
to the sanctified and fully developed mind, exquisite in 
proportion to the degree of its sanctification. There is 
nothing of this kind in God, when truly seen ; but false 
theories have often introduced such elements. 

The decisive point of trial of every system, therefore, is, 
can it give a view of depravity such as to include all sin, 
and so deep and powerful as to go to the bottom of the 
human malady, and purge it fully out, and give a con- 
sciousness of life and health, and of restoration to its true 
and normal state ; and, moreover, reveal to man the true 
system of this world, and yet, at the same time, disclose 
to it a God such in attributes and acts that, in its most 
holy state, it can perfectly love him, without doing violence 
to any of its regenerated powers and honorable emotions? 

Human depravity is a matter of fact and of conscious- 
ness ; and, in order to heal it, we must take it as it is, in 
all its extent and magnitude. And any system that cannot 
go to the bottom of a regenerated consciousness, cannot 
radically heal the soul ; and, till the mind is thus healed, it 
IS in vain to present to it a theoretically perfect view of 


God, for it must first be radically sanctified before it can 
experimentally know and commune -with such a God. 

On the other hand, however deep a system is in its 
theory of human depravity, if, in fact, it misrepresents the 
feelings or the acts of God, it must fill a truly regenerated 
and fully developed mind with deep distress, because it 
cannot fully love God without doing violence to its regen- 
erated nature. Let us illustrate this by a familiar scrip- 
tural analogy. The church is united to God in such rela- 
tions that she is called the bride, the Lamb's wife. 

Suppose, then, that a truly benevolent king, deeply inter- 
ested in a young woman of low rank but of distinguished 
natural talent, and yet proud, ambitious, selfish and cruel, 
had undertaken to correct her defects and educate her to 
become his wife, and had so far revolutionized her charac- 
ter as to make her humble, unaspiring, full of disinterested 
love, forgiving, compassionate and sensitively honorable, 
and then had espoused her to himself, — could anything fill 
her with deeper anguish than to have facts stated concern- 
ing him, on evidence apparently conclusive, which, if true, 
would prove that in his general administration he was cold- 
hearted, selfish, cruel, and devoid of all sympathy in the 
sufierings of his subjects? 

Would not the very fact of her own moral renovation — 
her love, tenderness, sympathy, and sensitive honor — fit 
her for keener sufiering than she could have endured in 
her original ambitious and unfeeling state? Would any 
personal favors from him satisfy her ? Would she not say, 
'' How can I love one so unlike the character which he has 
taken so much pains to form in me? 0, why, why has he 
trained me to hate himself?" 

Yet the fact that he had so trained her would lead her to 
feel that there must be some error about the alleged facts. 


" His true character," she would say, '' must accord with 
that which he has taken so much pains to form in me." 

And so, if acts and states of mind are ascribed to God 
which, in fact, logically imply that He has acted wrong- 
fully towards his creatures, or that he is cold-hearted, cruel 
and unfeeling, it fills the regenerated mind with unutterable 
distress. And yet, statements have, in fact, too often been 
made, which legitimately imply this. 

God can, indeed, even under such a system, so reveal 
himself, by special grace, that his real character shall be 
truly seen and felt in such a manner as to be independent 
of opposing theories, and to suspend their power. Or, the 
mind may for a time defend itself by false logical pro- 
cesses, Or by statements addressed rather to the imagination 
than to the reason. 

Thus, the logical tendencies of the system may for a 
time be suspended, as seeds often lie long in the soil with- 
out vegetating. 

But, as education and general culture and Christian sym- 
pathy and honor advance, the real nature of the theory will 
be disclosed, and the mind cannot but see and feel the logi- 
cal tendencies of the facts alleged; and, as soon as this 
comes to pass, it is in anguish ; for the system is then seen 
to be such that it cannot find a God whom its regenerated 
powers can truly, honorably and fully love ; nay, the only 
God which it can logically find it feels bound to hate. 

HoAV, then, can a harmony and reconciliation be eflfocted 
between the facts which are essential in order to reveal the 
true character and condition of man, and effect his thorough 
moral renovation, and such a character of God as a regen- 
erated mind can reasonably honor and love ? 



In order to answer the question before us, the natural 
course is carefully to examine the system as it now is, and 
thus to ascertain, if possible, what is the cause of the mis- 
adjustment. It is not, of necessity, anything obvious and 
prominent. Powerful systems are often easily and fatally 
misadjusted by a small cause. The movement of a part of 
the iron track of a railroad only a few inches from its true 
position is enough to put the whole system out of order, 
and to produce terrific scenes of confusion, ruin, suffering 
and death. A small motion, easily and quickly performed, 
can ruinously misadjust the wheels of a steamboat. 

So, in the great system of the universe, a single false 
assumption, plausible in its aspects, and made without due 
examination and consideration of its necessary and inevi- 
table effects, may, by falsely adjusting its moving powers, 
throw the whole system into confusion, and plunge mil- 
lions into endless ruin. Such a plausible but unfounded 
assumption I now proceed to state. 

That, then, which I regard as having produced the great 
and f ital misadjustment of the system of Christianity, the 
effect:^ of which I have endeavored to exhibit, is the simple 
and plausible assumption that men as they come into 


NEW-BORN beings, is plain enough; that they are, ther- 
fore. NEW- CREATED beings, is certainly a mere assumption. 
True, it is a plausible assumption ; and so was the old 
theory that the sun revolved around the earth. Was it 
not obvious, it was said, to the eyes of all, that such was 
the fact? Moreover, was there not, apparently, clear 
scriptural evidence of it ? Did not the Bible speak of the 
sun as rising and setting 7 Did not Joshua cause it to 
stand still 7 Such was the reasoning' of good men, even so 
late as the time of Turretin. On this point Dr. Hitchcock 
says : 

" Until the time of Copernicus, no opinion respecting 
natural phenomena was thought more firmly established, 
than that the earth is fixed immovably in the centre of the 
universe, and that the heavenly bodies move diurnally 
around it. To sustain this view, the most decided language 
of scripture could be quoted. God is there said to have 
established the foundations of the earthy so that they coidd 
not be removed forever ; and the sacred writers expressly 
declare that the sun and other heavenly bodies arise and 
set, and nowhere allude to any proper motion in the earth. 
And those statements corresponded exactly to the testimony 
of the senses. Men felt the earth to be immovably firm 
under their feet : and when they looked up, they saw the 
heavenly bodies in motion. What bold impiety, therefore, 
did it seem, even to men of liberal and enlightened minds, 
for any one to rise up and assert that all this testimony of 
the Bible and of the senses was to be set aside ! It is easy 
to conceive with what strong jealousy the friends of the 
Bible would look upon the new science which was thus 
arraying itself in bold defiance of inspiration, and how its 
votaries would be branded as infidels in disguise. We need 
not resort to Catholic intolerance to explain how it waa 


that the new doctrine of the earth's motion should be de- 
nounced as the most fatal heresy ; as alike contrary to scrip- 
ture and sound philosophy ; and that even the venerable 
Galileo should be forced to recant it upon his knees. What 
though the astronomer stood ready, with his diagrams and 
formulas, to demonstrate the motion of the earth ; who would 
calmly and impartially examine the claims of a scientific 
discovery, which, by its very announcement, threw dis- 
credit upon the Bible and the senses, and contradicted the 
unanimous opinion of the wise and good, — of all mankind, 
indeed, — through all past centuries ? Kather would the 
distinguished theologians of the day set their ingenuity at 
work to frame an argument in opposition to the dangerous 
neology, that should fall upon it like an avalanche, and 
grind it to powder. And, to show you how firm and irre- 
sistible such an argument would seem, we need no longer 
tax the imagination ; for Francis Turretin, a distinguished 
Protestant professor of theology, whose writings have, even 
to the present day, sustained no mean reputation, has left 
us an argument on the subject, compacted and arranged 
according to the nicest rules of logic, and which he sup- 
posed would stand unrefuted as long as the authority of the 
Bible should be regarded among men." 

But, after all these plausible appearances in external 
phenomena and in the Scriptures, the theory in question 
was a mere assumption, and its influence, so long as it was 
retained, was to throw the whole system of the material 
universe into confusion. Therefore, notwithstanding the 
reasonings and prejudices of good men, and the anathemas of 
the Romish church, it has long since been rejected, and con- 
signed to the locality in the moon where the great Italian 
bard located the forged decretals, upon which, in their day, 
was erected the portentous structure of Romish despotism. 


Such, too, may soon be the destiny of the plausible but 
unproved assumption that men, as they enter this world, 
are new-created beings. 

But, it may be asked, what is the injurious influence of 
this assumption ? How does it misadjust and disorganize 
the system of the moral universe 7 To this I reply ; by an 
absolute necessity it gives an immediate and definite direc- 
tion to the powerful principles of honor and of right, such 
that they energetically war against and tend to destroy any 
radical doctrine of original and inherent depravity. That 
there are powerful principles of honor and of right, with 
respect to new-created beings, we have shown. We have 
also shown that the reality and validity of these principles, 
in their highest form, has been decidedly and earnestly 
maintained by the most orthodox portions of the church, 
as well as by others. And what do these principles de- 
mand ? As stated by myself, and avowed by Turretin, 
Watts, Wesley and the Princeton divines, and confirmed 
by the churches of' the Reformation, they demand that God 
shall give to all new-created beings original constitutions, 
healthy and well-balanced, and tending decidedly and efiect- 
ually towards good. To make them either neutral or 
with constitutions tending to sin, would be utterly inconsist- 
ent with the honor and justice of God, and would involve 
him in the guilt and dishonor of sin. Moreover, God is 
bound to place new-created things in such circumstances 
that there shall be an over-balance of influences and tenden- 
cies on the side of holiness, and not of sin. Such are the 
conceded demands of the principles of equity and of honor. 
If there should be any doubt of the absolute truth and entire 
accuracy of these statements, let my readers refresh their 
memories by reading once more the fifth and sixth chapter? 
of the first book of this work. 


If, then, in view of such principles, we assume that men 
are new-created beings, what are the inevitable consequences? 
It follows, by a logical necessity, if God is honorable and 
just, — which all assume, — that they have uncorrupt moral 
constitutions, and predominant propensities to holiness, and 
are in circumstances tending to develop and perfect these 
tendencies. If not so, what becomes of the honor and jus- 
tice of God ? But if so, then what fragment is there left 
of any radical doctrine of human depravity, or of corrupt 
human or satanic influence ? 

But such wholesale inferences as these, though perfectly 
logical and irresistible so long as the premises are retained, 
make war as directly upon facts, common experience and 
history, as upon the fundamental doctrine of depravity in 
the word of God. 

What, then, is to be done 7 Only two resources remain. 
One is, to justify the Creator by devising some mode in 
which new-created beings, long before they are created, or 
have known or done anything, can forfeit all their rights. 
and come under his just displeasure ; the other, to release 
God from the elevated claims of the principles of equity and 
honor, as above stated, by the plea that such is free agency 
that they involve an impossibility, — that is, by so degrading 
the nature of free agency as to bring it down so very low 
that it will reach the deep moral depression of the atrocious 
developments of men, and of evil spirits through men, in this 
world, and accept them as the natural and necessary devel- 
opments of free agency. 

But, by resorting to either of these alternatives, the con- 
flict is not removed, but rather augmented. The doctrine 
of a forfeiture of rights by the imputation of Adam's sin 
can never escape the charge of involving, not merely injus- 
tice, but falsehood also. According to it, it will ever be 


said, God first falsely accuses new-created beings, and then, 
on the basis of this false accusation, inflicts a penalty of, 
infinite and inconceivable severity, — a penalty which is of 
all evils the essence and the sum. 

One would think that the worst enemy of Christianity 
could not desire to place it on a worse basis, or in a more 
indefensible position, than this. The redemption of the 
church is the chief work of God. In it he aims to reveal 
in its highest degree the glory of his grace. And yet, as 
God has made the mind, it cannot but regard it as based on 
an act of God dishonorable and unjust in the highest con- 
ceivable degree. Is this a proper basis of a system of free, 
pure, wonderful, sovereign grace 1 

On the other hand, the doctrine that free agency is of 
necessity so imperfect as to involve such atrocious develop- 
ments as those which make up the history of this world, is 
at war with well-known facts. It was not such in the 
innumerable hosts of holy angels, who have never deviated 
from the reverent worship and service of God, but are still 
glorious • in holiness and flaming fires of love, and intent 
with all their powers to do his will. And who has any 
shadow of right to say that the great majority of the whole 
created universe are not such, to this day 7 It was not so 
in the case of our great exemplar, — the man Jesus Christ ; 
for, though he was in all points tempted as we are, yet 
was he without sin. Amid trials of every form, and of 
intense severity, he remained hoty, harmless, undefiled, 
separate from sinners. 

But, if the necessary nature of free agency does not 
involve such results of sin and misery as fill this world, 
and there has been no forfeiture of original rights, then 
God cannot be justified in bringing such results to pass. 
merely as a sovereign, either by his own direct efficiency, or 


by a series of natural causes, acting tlirougli the body or 
the soul, or both : and this is conceded, or rather strongly 
asserted, by all the leading Old School authorities. So that, 
on this ground, the actual facts of this world, and of revela- 
tion, are such that they logically lead us to the result that 
the present system is indefensible, and that God does not 
deserve the honor, reverence and worship, of his creatures. 
Nor is it any relief to resort, with Foster, to the idea of 
universal salvation ; for, in addition to the fact that the doc- 
trine is at war with scripture, and the natural tendency of 
things, it is no defence of God against the charge of wrong- 
ing men in their original constitution and circumstances, to 
say that he does not add to it a still greater, even an infi- 
nite wrong. 

It is perfectly plain, then, that the simple and plausible 
assumption that men, as they come into this world, are new- 
created beings, does so direct the action of the great, the 
omnipotent principles of honor and right, that they do act 
with constant and fearful energy against the other great 
moving power of Christianity. This is the simple and 
unnoticed motion by which the great wheels of the ship of 
Christianity are made to revolve in opposite directions. 
That they do so revolve, I have shown by an appeal to 
facts. By the statements just made I have shown how 
that effect is produced ; nor, so long as the assumption in 
question is made, is it possible to avoid the result. 

It appears, then, that the whole conflict which we have 
been considering arises from the assumption that men, as 
they come into this world, are new-created beings. The 
principles of honor and of right, as we have stated them, 
relate solely to new-created beings, who have had no proba- 
tion, but who are to have one, in which they are to decide 
by their own action their destinies for eternity. In all 


ageSj the binding force of these laws has been felt to rest on 
this consideration. . If any person has been created with a 
moral constitution tending to good, and well circumstanced, 
and honorably, and affectionately dealt with by God, and 
then has made an ungrateful return, by disobedience and 
revolt, then all concede that he has forfeited his original 
rights. If such a person is punished, or dealt with on 
principles of sovereignty, all feel that it is right. 

Now, as it regards men, it is always merely assurn,ed^ on 
all sides, that they are, as they enter this world, new-created 
beings. This is certainly, in a case of so much moment, 
a remarkable fact. It cannot be explained on the ground 
that it is a self-evident truth ; for it is not. Never has it 
been regarded as such in the world at large. Indeed, a 
large proportion of the human race, if not the majority, have 
always believed in some form of the doctrine of the pre- 
existence of man. 

Nor is it because this assumed truth has no powerful 
logical relations ; for, in fact, it is, as I have proved, involved 
in all the reasoning of the opposing parties in the great con- 
flict which I have described : nor have the advocates of 
equity and honor any power in argument against the other 
party which does not depend upon this assumption. 

Ncr is it because this assumed truth is clearly revealed f 
for it is not. Indeed, it can be conclusively shown that it 
is not revealed even indirectly, much less directly and 

Nor is it because the evidence of the assumed truth has 
ever been carefully considered and proved to be sufficient ; 
for no such thing has ever been done. In short, it is the 
most remarkable case of an illogical assumption of a funda- 
mental truth, during a controversy of ages, of which I have 
any knowledge. The only thing that has prevented its 


proper exposure has been the fact that it has been so gen- 
erally, not to say all but universally, assumed on both sides 
of the question. This assumption is involved in the doc- 
trine that the cause of human depravity is the sin of Adam, 
and that on this account all men are born with either in- 
herent depravity, or deteriorated or deranged moral consti- 
tutions. These things, of course, imply that their deprav- 
ity is not the result of their previous action in a preceding 
state of existence, but that they come into this world as 
new-created minds. This is plain to a demonstration ; for, 
if men caused their own original depravity in a former state, 
then it was not caused by the sin of Adam. But, if Adam 
caused it, then they did not cause it in a former state, but 
are new-created beings. 

But, if they are new-created beings, then all the demands 
of honor and right are in full force towards them. Accord- 
ingly, Pelagius and his compeers and successors, in view of 
these principles, have always denied that man is, in fact, 
born with a deteriorated moral constitution, and asserted 
that he has such a one as the principles of honor and right 
demand for a new-created being. This is the fundamental 
element of Pelagianism. The same principles lead to the 
denial of man's exposure and subjection to powerful malig- 
nant spirits. This, it is alleged, is not consistent with the 
demands of honor and right towards new-created beings. 
The same principles would also lead to a denial of man's 
exposure to corrupt human organizations, if the facts were 
not too notorious to be denied. Those who hold these 
views, however, do, in fact, make every effort that they 
can to present in lighter shades the dark colors of depraved 
human society and organizations. The system thus devel- 
oped is clearly logical, in view of the premises ; but it wars 


with the facts of history. Christian consciousness and the 

On the other hand, those who assert innate depravity, or 
a deteriorated moral constitution, in view of fact, scripture 
and Christian consciousness, at once come in conflict with 
the demands of the principles of honor and right towards 
new-created minds. 



If, as I have shown, the moving powers of the system 
are at once and of necessity raisadjusted by the assumption 
that men enter this world as new-created minds, then, by 
the denial and rejection of this assumption, can the system 
be at once readjusted. 

If, in a previous state of existence, God created all men 
with such constitutions, and placed them in such circum- 
stances, as the laws of honor and of right demanded, — if, 
then, they revolted and corrupted themselves, and forfeited 
their rights, and were introduced into this world under a 
dispensation of sovereignty, disclosing both justice and 
mercy, — then all conflict of the moving powers of Chris- 
tianity can be at once and entirely removed. 

Each party can retain the truth for which they have so 
earnestly contended, and yet not war with that which now 
opposes it. The advocates of the deepest views of human 
depravity can hold to their views, and yet not war with the 
principles of honor and of right. The warmest advocates 
of these principles can retain them in full, and yet not 
conflict with the great facts of human depravity and rum. 
Let us first look at the case of the Old School divines. 

It has already become apparent that the great result at 
which the most orthodox leaders have aimed has l>een to 


justify God in his dealings with man by showing that 
there was a forfeiture of the rights of the human race ante- 
rior to their birth into this world. We have seen that, on 
the supposition that they come into this world as new- 
created beings, it is impossible to justify such a forfeiture. 
But no such difficulty attends the supposition that the for- 
feiture in question occurred not in this world, but in a 
previous state of existence, by the voluntary and personal 
revolt of each individual from God. That is a real for- 
feiture, and one that does not implicate God. 

Let us next consider the case of the most strenuous advo- 
cates of the principles of honor and right. They very 
properly contend that God cannot give to new-created 
beings a corrupt or sinful nature. Yet they do not deny 
the general depravity of man, — so mysterious, at least in 
its extent and power. This view fully vindicates God from 
the charge against which they protest, and throws on man 
the entire blame of any deterioration or corruption in his 
nature with which he enters this world. It also fully 
explains the mysterious depth and power of depravity; nor 
does it, in so doing, depreciate or degrade the nature of 
free agency itself In like manner can it be shown that 
there is, in reality, no important principle or fact, for which 
the various opposing parties contend, that cannot be secured 
without conflict, on this assumption. It is, therefore, 
entirely eifectual to harmonize the system, — which is the 
end for which I propose it, — and is, on this ground at least, 
worthy of universal acceptance. Moreover, as there is no 
middle ground between the two assumptions, that men enter 
this world as new-created beings, or that they do not, it 
appears to be the only assumption that can restore har- 

I am well aware that there is, in many most excellent 


persons, a disposition to revolt from this view. But I feel 
assured that it is not so much from thorough investigation, 
as on the ground of an unexpressed but powerful state of 
general feeling, that has been created bj the course of 
events in past ages. To the production of this state of 
feeling I am well aware that men of eminent religious 
character have largely contributed. 

But it is no less true that good men aided in the forma- 
tion of the dogmas of Rome, and of her despotic organiza- 
tion. It is one of the mysteries of God's providence, that 
his great enemy has been allowed to effect so much by 
means of good men. Is it, then, at all improbable that, by 
his agency, — even through good men, — a prejudice has 
been created against the truth on this point also 7 

If there is, in fact, a malignant spirit, of great and all- 
pervading power, intent on making a fixed and steady 
opposition to the progress of the cause of God, — and, if he 
well knows that there is one truth of relations so manifold, 
important and sublime, that on it depends, in great meas- 
ure, the highest and most triumphant energy of the system 
of Christianity, — then, beyond all doubt, he would exert his 
utmost power in so misleading the church of God as to fort- 
ify them in the strongest possible manner against its belief 
and reception. He would as early and as far as possible 
pervert and disgrace it. He would present it in false and 
odious combinations, and thus array against it the full 
power of that most energetic faculty of the human soul, 
the association of ideas. He would fill the church and the 
ministry with a prejudgment against it, not founded on 
argument, and yet so profound as to make its falsehood a 
foregone conclusion, and that to such an extent as entirely 
to prevent any deep and thorough intellectual effort on the 
subject He would, after succeeding in this, paralyze them 


with an eiFeminate timidity with reference even to any 
serious and thorough discussion of the subject ; so that even 
men who are in general the boldest advocates of free 
inquiry shall tremble and grow pale at the thought that 
any one with whom they are associated shall dare to avow 
an open and firm belief of the proscribed truth. 

But, if the Bible is to be trusted, there is such a spirit 
employing from age to age his utmost energies in opposing 
the cause of God ; and it is and ever has been true, in 
fact, that this sublime and momentous principle of widely- 
extended relations, and of immense power in all its rela- 
tions, — a principle that can restore perfect harmony to the 
system of Christianity, — has been treated, for long and 
gloomy centuries, in just the manner that I have described. 
On no subject that I have ever examined have minds 
which in general were elevated, free and liberal, manifested 
to such an extent the power of an irrational prejudgment, 
or of sensitive and paralyzing timidity. I will not say that 
this has been universal, for I have evidence to the contrary. 
But yet, as the causes that have tended to such a result 
have been of universal operation, they have exerted a wide- 
spread and almost universal power. Nor will I positively 
affirm who is the author of this state of things. It is 
enough to say that it has, to my own mind, in view of its 
history, a striking resemblance to the workings of that 
great and sagacious spirit, who in so many other respects 
has deceived and deluded the nations, in his mcst skilful 
efforts to oppose the progress of the kingdom of Christ, and 
to fortify and extend his own dark domains. 

For it appears that an effectual harmonizing principle 
of the Christian system is found in the assumption that all 
men, by a revolt from God in a previous state of existence, 
incurred a forfeiture of their oria;inal rioihts as new-created 


minds, and are born into this world under that forfeiture. 
It also appears that to evolve and defend the idea of such a 
forfeiture is that at which the orthodox leaders of the 
church have been aiming, for century after century. 
Indeed, they have — and very properly so far as this point 
is concerned — made the whole system of Christianity, as 
involving the redemption of the church, the glory of God 
and the eternal welfare of the universe, to rest upon a for- 
feiture of rights by all men before birth. Before them 
was early placed the idea of it which I have presented ; 
an idea, simple, intelligible, rational, perfectly adequate to 
meet and explain every fact of the case, involving no viola- 
tion of a single principle of honor or right, and capable of 
a development reflecting the highest glory on God. 

And yet things were so managed, from an early period, 
that step by step the mind of the church was misdirected on 
this subject, early committals were entered into, and preju- 
dices created ; so that, when the great conflict came on which 
first tried to sound the depths of this great question, all 
things were prepared to involve the orthodox world, under 
the lead of Augustine, in a wrong decision, which since that 
time has never been thoroughly reconsidered. From that 
time to the present, whenever the view which I have pre- 
sented has been brought forward, it has been, to a great 
extent, timidly or passionately rejected, without thorough 
and adequate investigation. Meantime, when the difficulties 
of the Augustinian theory have been found too great to be 
endured, other theories of forfeiture have been devised, 
which are no better. I shall endeavor hereafter clearly to 
evince that every one of these theories of forfeiture involves 
God, and his whole administration, and his eternal kingdom, 
in the deepest dishonor that the mind of man or angel can 
conceive, by the violation of the liighest and most sac;:<^ 


principles of honor and- right, and that on the scale of 
infinity and eternity. And yet their authors were most 
excellent men, and were aiming at most benevolent ends. 
The same, however, was true of most of the early advocates 
of some of the worst principles of the Church of Rome. To 
me both cases appear strangely like subtle delusions of the 
great master-mind of falsehood and fraud. 

If the facts which I have already adduced do not seem to 
any to justify this strong language, then I would only ask 
them to suspend their final j iidgment until they have heard 
the whole statement of the case. If they are not convinced 
before I close this inquiry, then let them freely, if they see 
fit, charge my language Avith extravagance and excess. For 
my own part, I feel that, strong as my assertions are, yet 
the words of truth and soberness were never more truly 
spoken than in this case. Moreover, I have felt that no 
less than this was due to a principle so vitally affecting the 
glory of God, and yet so long and so extensively dishonored, 
trodden under foot, and despised. 



I HAVE, in tlie preceding chapters, shown at large that 
the assumption that men enter this world as new-created 
beings at once causes the principles of honor and of right to 
act against any doctrine of original and inherent depravity ; 
and that any effort so to degrade the capabilities of free 
agency as to account by it for the sinful developments of 
this AYorld is at war with reason and with facts. I have 
also shown that as soon as we drop this assumption, and 
enter upon a former sphere of existence, in which all the 
laws of honor and of right were in all respects fully 
observed towards all new-created minds, every difficulty is 
at once removed. In this sphere of existence every man 
was the unreasonable and inexcusable author of his own 
corruption and ruin. From this sphere all men come into 
this world under a dispensation of wise and benevolent 
sovereignty, established for the more full development of 
the excellence of God, and the attainment of great public 
ends by the redemption of the church. 

I propose now to consider a little more in detail the 
effects of this readjustment on the system as a whole. 

I have before stated that, to insure harmony, it is essen- 
tial not only to retain all the facts of the system, but so to 
adjust all its parts as to give full and free play to all the 


convictions and emotions whicli it is tlie design of Chris ^ 
tianity to call into existence. I adverted in particular to 
the process of deep conviction of sin, and purification from 
it, as the great end of the system ; and to the necessity of 
presenting to a mind thus purified a God whom it could 
consistently Iovg. I also specified the importance of a clear 
view and a feeling sense of the presence and power of our 
invisible spiritual enemies, and of our need of the sustain- 
ing, invigorating and sanctifying influences of the divine 
Spirit. To secure all these results, the system, as read- 
justed, directly tends. We retain all the facts of the 
system, because we exhibit in full power the great and 
fundamental doctrine which leads to them, — that all men 
are in a fallen state, and have forfeited their original rights, 
and are under the just displeasure of God, and exposed to 
his righteous judgments. This, as all must concede, has 
ever been regarded by the orthodox as the fundamental 
basis of the Christian system, and out of it grows the 
whole economy of redemption. The whole Christian doc- 
trine concerning God the Father, the Son and the Holy 
Spirit, atonement, regeneration, the means of grace, the 
church, and eternal retributions, naturally grows out of it in 
undiminished, yea, rather in augmented fulness and glory. 
All of the teachings of God, through the human mind, the 
material system, providence, his word and his spirit, it 
gratefully and confidingly receives. It mutilates nothing, 
it rejects nothing, in the great and majestic temple of uni- 
versal truth. 

But, to bo more particular : 

1. We escape the constant and powerful tendency which 
exists under the old theory to give a superficial view of the 
great facts of man's depravity and ruin. 

A rational regard to the honor and justice of God is not; 


under this view, creating constant tendencies towards Pela- 
gian ideas. On the other hand, we are at once enabled to 
penetrate deeply and philosophically into the lowest recesses 
of human depravity, even as they are disclosed in the expe- 
rience of the most profound and spiritual minds. 

The old orthodox writers, in order to convey their 
ideas of a sinful state in man preceding and causing actual 
transgression, often familiarly call it a sinful habit ^ just as 
they call a foundation for holy acts a holy habit of soul. 
But, if men enter this world as new-created beings, there 
cannot, in reality, be in them anything to correspond to the 
w^ords " sinful habit." For they have not acted at all ; and 
a good God cannot create sinful habits. But, under the 
system as readjusted, these words describe the very thing 
which precedes wrong action, and causes a propensity to it. 
Men are born with deeply-rooted sinful habits and propen- 
sities. We are enabled, also, to understand the power and 
obstinacy of those evil propensities of which the holiest men 
are most deeply sensible, and why so intense a furnace of 
trial is needed in this world, to purge out the dross of sin. 
This view of the system, therefore, without dishonoring 
God, opens the way to a deep and thorough conviction of 
sin, and thus to the highest attainments in sanctification. 
In short, this theory enables us to understand and to explain 
such an experience as that of Edwards, and to see that it 
could be founded on facts. 

2. We escape the constant and poAverful tendency, to 
which I have before referred, to degrade the nature of free 
agency itself, by supposing that such facts as occur in this 
world are the natural and necessary results of the oest 
minds which God could make, in their normal state. 

There has been in the church, in all ages, a strong desire 
to believe in the possibility of an elevated state of original 


righteousness. But, with any even tolerably elevated stand- 
ard of excellence, any man must see that the human race 
are, from their earliest developments, in a very degraded 
state. What can be more dark than the picture of them 
given by Dr. Channing and Prof. Norton? Yet, if we deny 
preexistence, and maintain the divine justice, we are driven 
towards the conclusion that a free agent is such a being 
that God could do no better for him, on account of the essen- 
tial nature of free agency. From this fatal and melancholy 
tendency the system, as readjusted, entirely relieves us. 
Moreover, it gives us what the church has sought in vain. 
The idea that men were once upright in Adam is merely a 
shadow of relief, but has in it no reality. There is no reality 
except in the idea that men were once, in their own per- 
sons, actually upright, but fell before they entered this 
world ; and that, therefore, their sins here are not the nat- 
ural result of mere free agency. 

3. We do not ascribe to God any facts at all at war with 
the highest principles of honor and of right. Nay. more ; 
we open the way for the presentation of his character in 
new and peculiar forms of lovehness and grace. Nor is 
this all. If I may use the language of painters, we change 
the ground color of the whole view of the universe. If we 
look at this natural world through a colored medium, — 
whether it be red, yellow, blue, purple, or black, — the 
whole aspect of the scene is changed. Every object appears 
in an unnatural hue, and we long once more to see all 
things in the pure white light of heaven. But the old 
theory is a dark-colored medium. Seen through it, the 
whole universe appears, to use the heart-moving words of 
Foster, to be " overspread by a lurid and dreadful shade." 
Well do I understand the import of those words, and well 
do I remember my joy when that dark medium was broken, 


and I was by divine grace enabled to see all things in the 
pure, natural and radiant light of the true glory of my 
Saviour and my God. 

And now, instead of a God dishonorably ruining his 
creatures, the mind can find a God who has devised, at the 
expense of great self-denial, a system merciful towards the 
fallen, and benevolent towards the universe. It can find a 
God whom its regenerated emotions, and its highest concep- 
tions of honor and right, do not forbid it to worship ; and 
light irradiates, and joy unspeakable fills the soul. Such 
are the principles on which the last experience to which I 
have adverted is based. Such was the character of God, 
which, like a radiant sun, rose upon my mind when involved 
for a time in midnight gloom, and filled my soul with sacred 
joy and peace. 

4. We arrive at a sphere of existence in which we can 
carry up to the highest point our conceptions of the recti- 
tude of the original constitutions of all new-created beings, 
and of God's sincere good will towards them, and sympa- 
thetic and benevolent treatment of them. 

I do not mean that we can historically retrace and set 
forth the actual course of events in God's dealings with new- 
created beings ; but I do mean that there is nothing to for- 
bid the highest conceptions concerning such dealings that 
can flow from the attributes of infinite wisdom, justice, honor 
and love. 

The importance of preexistence, as averting a theoretical 
degradation of the nature of free agency itself, cannot be 
over-estimated. Such degradation, I have shown, is the 
inevitable result of endeavoring to defend God on the 
assumption that he has given to men, as they are in this 
world^ as good constitutions as the nature of free agency will 
allow. If free agency, in its best cstiite, results in such a 


history as that of this world. — in such a development of 
universal and desperate depravity, resulting in vice, crime, 
woes, idolatry, and moral pollution, to an extent almost 
inconceivable, — then it depresses and darkens our ideas of 
the universe itself Indeed, what motive can God have to 
create free agents, if free agency, in its own nature, is capa- 
ble of nothing better than it has disclosed in this world ? 

But, if this world is but a moral hospital of the universe, 
— if in it are collected, for various great and public ends, tlic 
diseased of past ages, the fallen of all preceding generations 
of creatures, — then we are at onc^ relieved from sueU 
depressing views of free agency itself. A new-created, 
upright mind, may still be an elevated and glorious ob- 
ject, and reflect the highest honor on the great Creator. 

Moreover, of all preceding generations of created beings it 
may still be true that incomparably the greatest part have 
retained their integrity. Compare, now, with a view so 
elevated and cheering, the gloomy and depressing theory 
that a free agent is necessarily a being of so low a grada 
that he cannot be fully developed, and come to the knowl- 
edge of good and evil, and arrive at mature and stable 
virtue, without the experience of sin. Concerning such 
views, Moehler has vfell said that they make any doctrine 
of a fall a foolishness, and make "an entrance into evil 
necessary, in order to serve as a self-conscious retur^i to 
good." This idea, he remarks, "exalts evil itself into 

Hagenbach also says, concerning certain such speculators, 
who seemed to concede that men are in a fallen state, that llie 
kind of original sin which they seem to establish is identic^] 
with the finite character of the nature and consciousness (.f 
man, which is a matter of necessity. Thus, the idea of s'n 
and responsibility is destroyed, and a doctrine introduced 


which would prove fatal to all true morality. According 
to this theory, no being can be properly educated, except 
through a process of sinning. "Education must first 
seduce that man who is in a process of mental development, 
before it can lead him to virtue." (Blasche, quoted by 
Hagenbach, § 295.) 

This 13 the lowest and most depressing conception of the 
nature and capabilities of free agency. From all temptation 
to conceptions of this dark and gloomy aspect we find a 
relief in the theory of preexistence. The fallen minds 
around us may be no more a fair specimen of what new- 
created, upright minds should be, than the inmates of a hos- 
pital are of the normal and healthy state of the body. 

"We now see that new-created minds may have been in a 
high degree beautiful and well ordered, so that, even in 
their perfections, there may have been an incidental occasion 
for sin. We can see that God loved them all, and that no 
one ever fell and perished, except against his expostulations, 
and without causing him sincere grief 

5. It presents the scriptural doctrine concerning a king- 
dom of fallen spirits in a light much more rational, intelli- 
gible and impressive. 

But, as this is one of the most difficult and delicate points 
in theology, it deserves a separate and formal consideration. 



The doctrine concerning a kingdom of hostile spirits is^ 
certainly, not a neutral doctrine. If it is not true, no doc- 
trine ought to be more decidedly rejected. If it is true, 
none ought more earnestly to be defended. If it is true, 
this world can never be understood till its truth is admitted. 
If it is true, as the apostle John says, that those most 
powerful civil and ecclesiastical organizations, wdiich are set 
forth under the symbol of a beast, and a harlot riding 
thereon, were framed, and are animated, by the God of this 
world, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience, 
— if his power must be broken before they are destroyed, 
and if he must be bound before the church can reign, then 
all views of the power of evil in this world, and all measures 
designed to encounter it, must be superficial, if they over- 
look and ignore these and similar great facts. 

And yet the supposition that men are new-created beings, 
and are exposed to the power of such spirits, although either 
disabled by innate depravity, or enfeebled by deteriorated 
moral constitutions, is so repugnant to every principle of 
honor and right, that there has been a steady tendency to 
disbelieve and deny the whole doctrine concerning evil 
spirits, because it involves such results. 

But, by the readjustment which I have suggested, the 
whole aspect of the doctrine is changed. The system of 


fchis world, viewed firom this new point of vision, implies 
not that any new subjects are added by it to the kingdom 
of darkness, but that multitudes are redeemed from it who 
were already in it when the system was established. 

To gain a clear and consistent conception of this aspect 
of the case, we must enlarge our views of the amount of 
time that may have elapsed since the creation and Ml of 
those angels who founded the kingdom of error and of sin. 
In many minds, a belief has existed of the comparative 
recency of the creation of this world. It has also been 
believed that the creation of the angels, and the fall of a 
part of them, but little preceded the creation of this world. 
In this case, the dispensation of this world could not grow 
out of a state of things which had come into existence during 
the lapse of millions of preceding ages. 

No room, therefore, has been left, after the origmal fall 
of the angels, for organizing and extending a kingdom of 
falsehood, fraud and seduction ; and for its augmentation 
in the course of ages, by tempting individuals in various 
worlds, and in the successive orders of new-created spirits. 

Now, although no one is authorized to say positively that 
such was the course of events, no more ought he to assume, 
without proof, that it was not. 

And now, at length, we are in a position to know that, 
at least so far as the material creation is concerned, it is not 
as recent as has been supposed. There is internal evidence 
to the contrary in the very structure of the globe. Many 
millions of years must have elapsed since this earth avus 
created. Indeed, on this point the language of geologists is 
very strong and decided, as the following extracts from Drs. 
Hitchcock and J. P. Smith will evince. The argument 
from the time needed to deposit the various strata of tho 
rocks is thus stated by Dr. Hitchcock : 


^' It is certain that, since man existed on the globe, mate- 
rials for the production of rocks have not accumulated to the 
average thickness of more than one hundred or two hundred 
feet ; although in particular places, as already mentioned, 
the accumulations are thicker. The evidence of this posi- 
tion is, that neither the works nor the re??iains of man 
have been found any deeper in the earth than in the upper 
part of that superficial deposit called alluvium. But, had 
man existed while the other deposits were going on, no pos- 
sible reason can be given why hisr bones and the fruits of 
his labors should not be found mixed with those of other 
animals, so abundant in the rocks to the depth of six or 
seven miles. In the last six thousand years, then, only 
one five-hundredth part of the stratified rocks has been 
accumulated. I mention this fact, not as by any means an 
exact, but only an approximate, measure of the time in 
which the older rocks were deposited ; for the precise age of 
the world is probably a problem which science never can 
solve. All the means of comparison within our reach enable 
us to say, only, that its duration must have been immense.'* 

Again, he says : 

'' Numerous races of animals and plants must have occu- 
pied the globe previous to those which now inhabit it, and 
have successively passed away, as catastrophes occurred, or 
the climate became unfit for their residence. Not less than 
thirty thousand species have already been dug out of the 
rocks ; and, excepting a few hundred species, m^ostly of sea 
shells^ occurring in the uppermost rocks^ none of them 
correspond to those now living on the globe. In Europe, 
they are found to the depth of about six and a half miles ; 
and in this country, deeper ; and no living species is found 
more than one- twelfth of this depth. All the rest are 
specifically and often generically unlike living species ; and 


fche conclusion seems irresistible, that they must have lived 
and died before the creation of the present species. Indeed, 
so diflferent was the climate in those early times, — it having 
been much warmer than at present in most parts of the 
world, — that but few of the present races could have lived 
then. Still further; it appears that, during the whole 
period since organized beings first appeared on the globe, 
not less than four, or five, and probably more — some think 
as many as ten or twelve — entire races have passed away, 
and been succeeded by recent ones ; so that the globe has 
actually changed all its inhabitants half a dozen times. 
Yet each of the successive groups occupied it long enough 
to leave immense quantities of their remains, which some- 
times constitute almost entire mountains. And, in general, 
these groups became extinct in consequence of a change of 
climate ; which, if imputed to any known cause, must have 
been an extremely slow process." 

Again, he says : 

''The denudations and erosions that have taken place on 
the earth's surface indicate a far higher antiquity to the 
globe, even since it assumed essentially its present condition, 
than the common interpretation of Genesis admits. The 
geologist can prove that in many cases the rocks have beeii 
worn away, by the slow action of the ocean, moi^e than two 
miles in depth in some regions, and those very wide, as in 
South Wales, in England. As the continents rose from the 
ocean, the slow drainage by the rivers has excavated numer- 
ous long and deep gorges, requiring periods incalculably 
extended. I do not wonder that, when the sceptic stands 
upon the banks of Niagara river, and sees how obviously 
the splendid cataract has worn out the deep gorge extending 
to Lake Ontario, he should feel that there is a standing 
proof that the common opinion, as tc the age of the world, 


cannot be true, and hence be led to discard the Bible, if ho 
supposes that to be a true interpretation. But the Niagara 
gorge is only one among a multitude of examples of erosion 
that might be quoted, and some of them far more striking to 
a geologist. On Oak Orchard creek, and the Genesee 
river, between Rochester and Lake Ontario, are similar 
erosions, seven miles long. On the latter river, south of 
Rochester, we find a cut from Mount Morris to Portage, 
sometimes four hundred feet deep. On many of our south- 
western rivers we have what are called canons^ or gorges, 
often two hundred and fifty feet deep, and several miles 
long. Near the source of Missouri river are what are called 
the Gates of the Rocky Mountains, where there is a gorge 
six miles long and twelve hundred feet deep." 

To these he adds nearly two pages more of similar cases. 

After adducing much other evidence, he thus concludes : 

'• Now, let this imperfect summary of evidence in favor 
of the earth's high antiquity be candidly weighed, and can 
any one think it strange that every man, who has carefully 
and extensively examined the rocks in their native beds, is 
entirely convinced of its validity 7 Men of all professions, 
and of diverse opinions concerning the Bible, have been 
geologists ; but on this point they are unanimous, however 
they may differ as to other points in the science. Must we 
not, then, regard this fact as one of the settled principles of 
science? " 

Equally striking, or even more so, are the statements of 
Dr. J. P. Smith, in the supplementary notes to his learned 
treatise entitled Geology and Scripture. After consid- 
ering certain volcanic formations, he says : ''It would seem 
perfectly impossible for any person, but moderately ac- 
quainted with the visible phenomena of volcanic regions, to 
escape the impression that myriads of ages must have J)een 


occupied in the production of these formations, before the 
creation of man, and the adaptation of the earth's surface 
for his abode." — p. 367, Bohn's edition. Of another form- 
ation he says, '' Ages innumerable must have rolled over 
the Avorld, in the making of this single formation." — p. 373. 

He also quotes Babbage, as saying in his " Ninth 
Bridge water Treatise," '' It is now admitted by all compe- 
tent persons that the formation of those strata which are 
nearest the surface must have occupied vast periods, prob- 
ably millions of years ^ in arriving at their present state." 
-p. 72. 

And are we to suppose that in all of these past ages there 
were no intelligent beings in existence ? Were there no 
angels great in might, and swift to do EQs will ? 

There is, indeed, no reason to believe in the existence of 
the human race on this earth before the time assigned in the 
Mosaic record. But the existence of some of the angels 
from the beginning of the creation, and the creation of 
other intelligent spirits from that time onward, in other 
parts of the Creator's kingdom, to see his works and execute 
his plans, are in the highest degree reasonable and probable. 

Therefore, after the first creation of the angels, the fall 
of Satan and his fellows may have taken place in ages far 
remote ; and through them the kingdom of darkness may 
have been extended by moral conflict, wnles and temptation, 
from age to age. Moreover, the final destruction of this 
kingdom, by a system of moral exposure, may be one of the 
groat ends of this present and final dispensation. 

In perfect accordance with this view is the prominence 
given in the Bible to the conflict of the two great kingdoms 
of light and of darkness, and of the relations of the events of 
this world to that conflict. Listen to the words of inspired 
apostles : — " For tliis purpose the Son of God was mani- 


festedj that he might destroy the works of the devil.' 
" He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet, 
Then cometh the end, when he shall have put down all rule 
and all authority and power." — 1 Jn. 3 : 8. 1 Cor. 15 • 
24, 25. 

It would seem, from passages like these, — and they are 
numerous, — that the destruction of the kingdom of darkness, 
and of its king, was one great end of the manifestation of 
God in human form. To destroy his works He was revealed. 
When all the power and rule and authority of this kingdom 
are put down, then cometh the end. 

It is true that in the process of subduing this kingdom 
he also redeems the church, and that this also is a primary 
end of the system. 

But, in fact, the great end, which includes both, is so to 
prostrate Satan's kingdom, and to establish God's, that God 
shall be all and in all. And it is by redeeming the church, 
as we shall hereafter more fully show, that he secures both 

Now, if we take enlarged views of the antiquity, origin 
and progress, of the kingdom of Satan, we shall see that 
in it may have been found, among spirits seduced by him 
and his angels, after their own original fall, the materials 
out of which the church is formed, and that the triumph of 
God may be vastly augmented by this fact. 

He may rescue millions from his grasp by means of the 
system of this world, and by their redemption develop such 
an amount of moral power as utterly to prostrate both the 
king of darkness and his kingdom. 

It is not my purpose, at present, to assert these things aa 
facts, but simply to remove those narrow views of the pre- 
vious history of creation, which would, without evidence, ex- 
clude the propriety or possibility of such a supposition. 


I aim to sliow that by tlie proposed readjustment of the 
system the whole aspect of the doctrine concerning a kino-- 
dom of hostile spirits, and man's exposure to it. is changed; 
and that the system of this world, viewed from this point 
of vision, implies not that any new subjects are added to 
that kingdom, but that multitudes are redeemed from it 
who were in it when the system was established. 

Having now reached this point of vision, we are enabled 
to take still more elevated and enlarged views of the dispen- 
sation of this world in its relations to the past and the 
future history of the universe. For it is a fair conclu- 
sion, from the statements of the word of God, that the ante- 
cedent history of God's kingdom extends back for ages of 
ages, and that the results of all this anterior history of 
the universe are concentrated and brought to a crisis in 
this world, and that all the future history of the universe 
will diverge from the results of the dispensation of this 
world. The great idea is, evil entered in ages past, and in- 
troduced a kingdom hostile to that of God. The conflict of 
these kingdoms comes to its crisis here ; and then cometh 
the end of this dispensation, and the eternal state of the 
universe begins. 



For the sake of a definite and vivid impression, I will 
now endeavor to concentrate in one summary view the re- 
sult of the preceding discussions. That result is this : that, 
by supposing the preexistent sin and fall of man, the most 
radical views of human depravity can be harmonized with 
the highest views of the justice and honor of God. The 
doctrines of the innate depravity of man, and his exposure 
to corrupt social organizations, and to the power of evil 
spirits, sustain entirely different relations to the principles 
of honor and right, as we reject, or as we adopt, the idea of 
preexistence. If we reject it, the alleged facts and the 
principles come into immediate and inevitable conflict. 

But if all men have existed and sinned, before this life, in 
another state of being, then it is easily conceivable, and 
worthy of belief, that, when first created, all the demands 
of honor and right as to theii constitution and circumstances 
were fully met, and that, since in those circumstances they 
smned, the fault w^as entirely their own, and not at all 
yGod's. Moreover, it is easily conceivable, and worthy of 
belief, that the result of a course of sinning should be to 
leave in their minds that predisposition to sin which we, in 
common cases, designate by the name sinful habit, but which 
is in this case called original sin ; which is no part of the 
original constitution of the mind, but was introduced into it 


by the sinner himself ; so that for it he, and he only, is 
responsible : which is not an act, but a permanent result of 
previous acts, and appears as simply a strong predisposition, 
or tendency, or propensity to sin. 

It has also been shown to be supposable that the fall of 
Satan and his angels took place in the far -remote ages of 
past eternity, and that since their fall other spiritual beings 
have been seduced to join them in their revolt, and have 
come under the despotism of Satan, forming a vastly ex- 
tended kingdom of fallen souls. It is still further sup- 
posable that God saw fit to destroy the power of Satan and 
his hosts by a system of disclosures, in which he should 
enter this kingdom, and, by a material system, regenerate 
and rescue from his grasp a large portion of his subjects, 
and destroy him and the rest by those disclosures of moral 
power that should proceed from this work of redemption. 
It may be that, not only this world, but the whole existing 
material system, were created with reference to this end, and 
that this is the basis of the analogies of things material and 
spiritual. That for the same end the incarnation and 
atonement of Christ were predetermined, and the results of 
the whole work ordained before the foundation of the world. 

All this, on the supposition now under consideration, may 
be true ; and, if it may be true, thefl there is no necessary 
collision between the facts as to human depravity and the 
principles of honor and right which have been stated ; for, 
if these were all observed at the time of the original crea- 
tion and trial of man, and if they then, on a fair and hon- 
orable probation, forfeited their rights, and fell under the 
penalty of God's law, and were justly exposed to endless 
ruin, then the entire aspect of God's dispensations towards 
this world is radically changed. The principles of honor 
and right which pertain to new-created minds having been 


observed, and all claim to divine favor having been for- 
feited by each for himself, then all fall into the hands of 
God as clay of the same lump, to be dealt with on such 
principles of sovereignty as the interests of his universal 
kingdom may demand. And now the whole aspect of this 
world changes. Man is the author of his original de- 
pravity, and not God. No addition is made by the system 
to the number of fallen minds, but, on the other hand, un- 
numbered multitudes are delivered by it from a fallen 
state. What men enjoy in this world is a gracious gift of 
God to them, beyond their deserts. What they suffer is less 
than they deserve, for it is of the Lord's mercies that they 
are not consumed. The multitudes who are saved owe 
eternal life to the free grace of God. All who are lost 
perish entirely by their own original revolt from God, per- 
sisted in during this life. 

But, on the other supposition, none of these things is 
true. If men are new-created beings, then all the laws of 
honor and right towards them, as such, are in full force. 
They have done nothing before they come into existence in 
this world to forfeit the favor of God. If any of them 
perish, it is the addition of so many new-created souls to 
the number of the lost. To create them sinful before 
knowledge or action, if it were possible, and then expose 
them to the malignant influences of corrupt society and 
Satanic wiles, would be at war with the principles of honor 
and of right. And any dispensation or constitution of God 
which brings them into this world with deteriorated and 
corrupted constitutions, and places them in circumstances 
of immense social disadvantage, and exposed to the organ- 
ized and fearfully powerful temptations of Satan, for aught 
that I can see, comes into direct collision with those prin- 


ciples of honor and right which God himself has implanted 
in the soul. 

Here, then, we arrive at what I have referred to from 
the beginning, — a possible adjustment of the two great mov- 
ing powers of Christianity. There is between them no 
necessary opposition. They may be so adjusted as to work 
together in harmony. But the assumption that this is our 
first state of existence at once misadjusts them, and causes 
one to work against the other with tremendous power. And 
it is this counter-working of the two great wheels of the sys- 
tem which has produced those lamentable divisions among 
good men, to which I have already so fully adverted. 



I HAVE already expressed my views as to the antecedent 
sSourse of speculation in the church on the subject of pre- 
existence. But, as references may still be made to it, in 
order to ^orejudice the views which I have advanced, I 
propose, before I proceed further, to anticipate any prejudg- 
ment which may arise in any mind from this quarter. 

It may, then, be said — as, in fact, it has been said to 
me — that this view is no novelty ; that it has been sug- 
gested again and again, for centuries ; and that, after full 
and mature consideration in all its relations, it has been 
rejected as not furnishing the requisite relief But, if 
there were in it any self-evidencing power of truth, it 
would before this have been received, at least by all regen- 
erated and reasonable minds, even as the true doctrine 
of the solar system has been by all candid and learned 

To this I reply, that though it is true that the funda- 
i)[iental idea has been suggested in various ages past, yet it 
is not true that it has ever been fully and maturely con- 
sidered in all its relations. On the other hand, it has been 
treated just as was the true theory of the solar system, for 
many long centuries after that was proposed ; that is, it has 
been merely proposed and suggested, but the system to 
which it belongs, and of wliich it is a logical part, has never 


been wrought out and adjusted. There is, as I shall 
endeavor to show, a view of the character of God, which 
properly belongs to this system, which has never been 
properly developed and introduced as an element in systems 
of theology. 

All know with what energy the mind of the church has 
been developed on such subjects as the Trinity, the Atone- 
ment, and the eternal purposes of God. This subject 
deserves, at least, as thorough a discussion as these, or any 
other ; for no other involves questions, or principles, or 
results, of greater moment. And yet there never has been 
in any age a period of mental energy expended in a full 
and radical discussion of this question. On the other hand, 
almost the entire intellectual energy of all ages has been 
expended in setting forth and defending the opposite 

Such being the facts, till this view has been fully 
considered there can be no presumptive argument against 
it from the fact that it has not been generally adopted. 
The theory that the sun, and not the earth, was the centre 
of the solar system, was rejected for ages, simply because it 
was not thoroughly looked into, although often suggested ; 
and has been adopted only within a few centuries, and 
solely in consequence of a general, profound and radical 
investigation of it, in all its relations to existing facts. 
Before this, the mathematical talent of the world was em- 
ployed to expound and defend the geocentric theory, with 
its cycles and epicycles. 

The following extract from ^'Whe well's History of the 
Inductive Sciences" will place this subject in its true light : 

" The doctrine of Copernicus, that the sun is the true 
centre of the celestial motions, depends primarily upon the 
consideration that sucli a supposition explains very simply 


and completely all tlie obvious appearances of the heavens 
In order to see that it does this, nothing more is requisite 
than a distinct conception of the nature of relative motion, 
and a knowledge of the principal astronomical phenomena. 
There was, therefore, no reason why such a doctrine might 
not be discovered^ — that is, suggested as a theory plausible 
at first sight, — long before the time of Copernicus ; or, rather, 
it was inevitable that this guess, among others, should be 
propounded as a solution of the appearances of the heavens. 
We are not, therefore, to be surprised, if we jind^ l?i the 
eai^liest times of astronomy^ and at various succeedmg 
periods, such a system spoken of by astronomers, and 
maintained by some as true, though rejected by the 
majority, and by the princifpal writer sP 

He then proceeds to show how the application of mathe- 
matical talent to the geocentric theory (that which places 
the earth in the centre) gave it an apparent superiority, by 
means of the theory of eccentrics and epicycles, to the 
heliocentric theory (that which places the sun in the 
centre). He then adds, "It is true that all the contriv- 
ances of epicycles, and the like, by which the geocentric 
hypothesis was made to represent the phenomena, were sus- 
ceptible of an easy adaptation to a heliocentric method, 
when a good mathematician had once proposed to him,- 
self the problem ; and this was precisely what Copernicus 
undertook and executed. But, till the appearance of his 
wprk, the heliocentric system had never come before the 
world, except as a hasty and imperfect hypothesis ; which 
bore a favorable comparison with the phenomena, so long 
as their general features only were known ; but which had 
been completely thrown into the shade by the labor and intel- 
ligence bestowed upon the Hipparchian or Ptolemaic theories 
by a long series of great astronomers of all cotmtries.^^ 


He then proceeds to state at some length the evidence of 
the fact that, whilst all the mathematical talent of the world 
was employed in developing and defending a false theory 
of the universe, yet the true theory had been often and 
clearly suggested. He remarks, ^^ It is curious to trace 
the early and repeated manifestations of this view of the 
universe. Its distinct assertion among the Greeks is an 
evidence of the clearness of their thoughts, and the vigor 
of their minds ; and it is a jwoof of the feebleness and 
servility of intellect in the stationary j^eriod^ that, till the 
period of Copernicus, 7io one was found to try the fortune 
of this hypothesis, modified according to the improved 
astronomical knowledge of the time. 

" The most ancient of the Greek philosophers to whom the 
ancients ascribe the heliocentric doctrine is Pythagoras : 
but Diogenes Laertius makes Philolaus, one of the follow- 
ers of Pythagoras, the first author of tliis doctrine. We 
learn from Archimedes that it was held by his contempo- 
rary, Aristarchus. 'Aristarchus of Samos,' says he, 
' makes this supposition, that the fixed stars and the sun 
remain at rest, and that the earth revolves round the sun 
in a circle.' Plutarch asserts that this, which was only a 
hypothesis in the hands of Aristarchus, was proved by 
Seleucus ; but we may venture to say that, at that time, no 
such proof was possible. Aristotle had recognized the ex- 
istence of this doctrine by arguing against it. ' All things,' 
says he, ' tend to the centre of the earth, and rest tliere, 
and therefore the whole mass of the earth cannot rest ex- 
cept there.' Ptolemy had in like manner argued against 
the diurnal motion of the earth : such a revolution would, 
he urged, disperse into surrounding space all the loose parts 
of the earth. Yet he allowed that such a supposition would 
fa,cilitate the explanation of some phenomena. Cicero 


appears to make Mercury and Venus revolve about the sun, 
as does Martianus Capella at a later period ; and Seneca 
says, it is a worthy subject of contemplation, whether the 
earth be at rest or in motion : but at this period, as we may 
see from Seneca himself, that habit of intellect which was 
requisite for the solution of such a qiiestion had been suc- 
ceeded by indistinct views and rhetorical forms d'f speech. 
If the}' e were miy good mathematicians and good ob- 
servers at this i^eriod^ they were employed in cultivating 
and verifying the Hipparchian theory. 

"Next to the Greeks, the Indians appear to have pos- 
sessed that original vigor and clearness of thought from 
which true science springs. It is remarkable that the 
Indians, also, had their heliocentric theorists. Aryabatta 
(a. d. 1322), and other astronomers of that country, are 
said to have advocated the doctrine of the earth's revolution 
on its axis ; which ojjinioji, however^ was rejected by sub- 
sequent philosojjhers amojig the Hindoos. 

" Some writers have thought that the heliocentric doctrine 
was derived^ by Pythagoras and other European philoso- 
phers, from some of the oriental nations. This opinion, 
however, will appear to have little weight, if we consider 
that the heliocentric hypothesis, in the only shape in which 
the ancients knew it, was too obvious to require much 
teaching ; that it did not, and could not, so far as we know, 
receive any additional strength from anything which the 
oriental nations could teach : and that each astronomer was 
induced to adopt or reject it, not by any information which 
a master could give him, but by his love of geometrical sim- 
plicity on the one hand, or the prejudices of sense on the 
other. Real science, depending on a clear view of the 
relation of phenomena to general theoretical ideas, cannot 
be communicated in the way }f secret and exclusive tradi- 


tions, like the mysteries of certain arts and crafts. If the 
philosopher do not see that the theory is true, he is little 
the better for having heard or read the words which assert 
its truth. 

'^It is impossible, therefore, to assent to those views 
which would discover in the heliocentric doctrines of the 
ancients traces of a more profound astronomy than any 
which they have transmitted to us. Those doctrines were 
merely the plausible conjectures of men with sound geom- 
etrical notions ; but they were never extended so as to 
embrace the details of the existing astronomical knoiol- 
edge ; and perhaps we may say that the analysis of the 
phenomena into the arrangements of the Ptolemaic system 
was so much more obvious than any other, that it must 
necessarily come first, in order to form an introduction to 
the Copernican." 

Now, I freely admit that the common theory of the moral 
system, at first sight, did seem to be suggested by some 
passages of scripture, just as was the geocentric theory of 
the material universe. Moreover, it seemed to account for 
the fundamental facts of the Christian system, just as the 
geocentric theory seemed to account for the phenomena 
of the solar system. Hence, it being hastily assumed 
that the Bible teaches it, all the energy of evangelical 
divines has been put forth to explain and defend it. It has, 
indeed, not been denied that the theory of preexistence 
would also explain the facts of native and entire depravity, 
and relieve some difficulties. But it has been for the most 
part summarily rejected, just as w^as the heliocentric 
theory, and for the same reason. Eminent divines have 
never tlioroughly considered its scriptural relations, and 
undertaken and thoroughly executed the problem of develop- 


ing the system to wliich it belongs, so as to embrace the 
details of the existing theological knowledge. 

Perhaps, too, in this, as in the other case, the energetic 
investigations of the advocates of the old system were 
allowed to exist, as an introduction to a new and better sys- 
tem. We have, at least, been enabled by them to see what 
is the best that can be said in its behalf; and we have had 
full and ample opportunity to study its operation on indi- 
viduals and on society. 

It would have been well if the theory of preexistence had 
suffered merely from neglect, as above stated. But, in 
addition to this, prejudice was awakened against it, by the 
errors and eccentricities of some of its early defenders. Of 
these, perhaps no one was more conspicuous than Origen. 
He, by his unsound views on many points, and by associat- 
ing preexistence with a false philosophical theory of the 
universe, created in many minds a prejudice against the 
idea itself To this I shall advert again, in its place. 

Thus have I endeavored to state the principles of the 
reconciliation of the contending powers of Christianity which 
I propose. We are now prepared to enter upon a consider- 
ation of a historical analysis of the course of the great con- 
flict which has been spoken of as existing during a long 
series of ages. 





When we turn from the interests and controversies of 
\iie present generation, and undertake to survey those of 
past ages, we seem at first to be entering upon a boundless 
ocean, of difficult and perilous navigation. But, after a lit- 
tle experience, we find that the ocean is not illimitable, and 
that its navigation is by no means as difficult or hazardous 
as at first appeared. We soon find a compass and a chart ; 
and, aided by the favoring gales of the spirit, we safely and 
happily complete our voyage. We find, too, that such a 
voyage is not in vain. We find more than dry dogmas and 
obsolete creeds to bring home with us, as the fruits of our 
adventures. We find that the history of thought and emo- 
tion in the church of God, in all ages, has a vital relation 
to the condition and interests of the present age ; and that 
the future is not to be separated from the past by an abrupt 
interval, but to have its roots in it, and to grow out of it 
with a mature and healthy growth. 


We have seen that the careful study and development of 
the false theories of the material universe was, in the judg- 
ment of Whewell, an important preparation for the develop- 
ment of the true theory. In like manner, it may be true 
that the energetic investigations of false theories of the sys- 
tem of the moral universe were needed, and were designed 
by God as an introduction to a new and better system. We 
have, at least, thereby been enabled to see what is the best 
that can be said in behalf of those theories, and have had 
ample opportunity to study their intellectual and moral 
influences on individuals and on society. 

So far as I know, no complete^ and philosophical history 
of this great conflict of ages has ever been written, although 
many and important elements of it are contained in the vari- 
ous learned and able histories of the church, and of dog- 
matic theology, which have from time to time appeared. 

Whenever such a history shall be fairly written, it will, 
I am assured; clearly evince that the principles of honor and 
of right, as I have stated them, have been recognized in 
every age ; but that, so long as it has been assumed that 
this is our first state of existence, the course of events has 
been this : First, that these principles have, in some minds, 
given rise to superficial views of human depravity, which 
are not adapted to produce a deep Christian experience. 
Then, that against these views, from time to time, men, 
actuated by a profound Christian consciousness, have 
reacted, and endeavored to promulgate and defend deeper 
views of the great facts concerning the depravity of man, 
and his exposure to unseen and powerful spirits of evil 
but that, nevertheless, in so doing they have made a pain- 
ful war upon the most obvious and sacred principles of 
honor and right ; and that every eflbrt to remove this con- 
trariety, made during the course of more than fifteen cen- 


turies, has been in vain. The study of such a history would 
be eminently salutary. It would enable us to avoid all 
a priori and abstract theorizing, and to consider the simple 
question, what, in fact, have been the developments of the 
human mind, under the common assumption that this is our 
&st state of existence, and that the fall of Adam is, in 
some way, the cause of the sinfulness of the human race. 
Such a review would powerfully confirm our previously- 
announced conclusion, that the conflict of principles, which 
I have in this work asserted to exist, is a reality ; that the 
two great working powers of Christianity are in fact mis- 
adjusted, and do work against each other; and that they can 
never be made to work together, on the assumption that this 
is our first state of existence. 

A history of the kind to which I have adverted ought to 
contain a full view of the manifestations and phases of this 
great controversy, as seen in at least tlie following theolog- 
ical developments : 

1. The doctrines and speculations of the period anterior 
to Augustine, on the sinful condition of man and his 
redemption through Christ. 

2. The great Augustinian and Pelagian controversy. 

3. The Semipelagian controversies, till the tenth cen- 

4. The controversies of the schoolmen, upon the same 
topics, until the Reformation. 

5. The discussions and decisions of the Reformers. 

6. The iebates and decisions of the council of Trent, and 
the subsequent controversies in the Romish church, e. g. 
in the case of Baius, of Molina, and of the Jansenists. 

7. The Arminian controversy in Europe ana America. 

8. The Socinian controversy on these points, soon after 
the opening of the Reformation. 


9. The assaults of the celebrated Arian, Dr. J. Taylor, on 
the doctrine of original sin, and the rejoinders of his Englis\ 

10. The development of New England theology on sin^ 
holiness and human depravity, by Edwards, Hopkins, Em- 
mons and others, in reply to the Arminians and J. Tay- 

11. The more recent Unitarian controversies on human 
depravity, m Europe and America. 

12. The further developments of New England theology 
on sin and holiness, by Dr. N. Taylor and the New Haven 

13. The controversies in New England and the Presby- 
terian church, to which they gave rise. 

14. The more recent controversy of Professor Park and 
the Princeton divines. 

If any one, on looking over this formidable outline of a 
wide-extended field of controversy, should fear lest the mind 
should be wearied and confounded by the multiplicity of 
names and conflicting theories, let him, for a moment, rise 
above names, and consider the things in debate, and he will 
see that they are few and simple. On the one side he will 
find, under the influence of Christian consciousness. Scrip 
ture and history, a constant efibrt to state thoroughly the 
entire ruin^of ma^ its origin from Adam, and its remedy 
in Christ. On the other he will find the annunciation, with 
greater or less fulness, of the principles of honor and right, in 
their relations to God, and his dealings with men ; and efibrts, 
under their influence, either utterly to disprove, or to modify 
and soften, the facts alleged, concerning the utter ruin and 
gracious recovery of man. As the valley of the Mississippi, 
though vast, is simple in its great outlines, and as the river 
that drains it is formed of necessity, as it is, by the waters 


that flow from the descending slopes of the great eastern and 
western chains of mountains, so the valley of this great 
river of controversy, that has flowed for ages, is simple, and 
the river itself has been made, of necessity, by the meeting 
of the constant streams of thought and feeling that have 
flowed from these great and opposite mountain ranges of 
alleged facts on the one hand, and of principles on the other. 
Nor need we wonder at the depth, mtensity and power, of the 
feehngs that have been manifested. The subject involves 
all that man has to hope or fear in an eternal destiny. 

Who can fully conceive of the importance of a thorough 
and radical regeneration, if the account given of the ruin 
of man is true ? It is a deliverance from eternal pollution, 
eternal shame and eternal woe, the magnitude of wliich 
overwhelms the mind, and eclipses all other deliverances. 
Hence, to the deeply experimental Christian, no evil can 
appear greater than the dissemination of false or superficial 
views of the depravity and ruin of man. To such, the flip- 
pancy and levity and self-exaltation which so many exhibit, 
who are ignorant of their own utter ruin, is unutterably 
mournful and repulsive. Hence, we need not wonder at the 
earnestness and zeal with which experimental Christians, 
such as Augustine, the Reformers, the Puritans, Edwards, 
and others of a like spirit, have defended the doctrine of 
depravity; nor at the deep sufferings which they have 
endured, when errors have prevailed affecting vitally the 
eternal welfare of their fellow-men. 

But this is not the only just ground of earnest intellectual 
activity and deep suffering. Who can estimate the import- 
ance of true views of honor and right, in reference to the 
character of God ? 

All that is great, glorious and praiseworthy, in the Cre- 
ator, — all that is valuable or desirable in his eternal king- 


dom, all that makes existence itself in any degree a bless- 
ing, — nay, all that prevents it from becoming a most fearful 
curse, is at stake. There is no other interest, of which the 
mind can form a conception, that deserves for a moment to 
be compared with the interest that every created being has 
in the character of God. Not only individual non-exist- 
ence, but much more universal non-existence, is to be pre- 
ferred to existence under a God the measures of whose 
administration should violate the fundamental and eternal 
principles of honor and of right. 

This estimate of the importance of this great controversy 
is not exaggerated. Nor is it so regarded by any competent 
judge. Hence, Wiggers, in his history of Pelagianism and 
Augustinism, justly remarks, " Among all the doctrinal 
controversies in the Christian church, the Pelagian cer- 
tainly take the first place^ if we regard the consequences, 
and the importance of their results to Christian doctrine." 
Ranke, too, in his History of the Popes, says of the question, 
debated by Molina, concerning grace, free will, good works 
and predestination, — which is but the necessary development 
of the Pelagian controversy, — that, throughout the whole 
range of theology. Catholic as well as Protestant, it is, and 
ever has been, " the most im,porta7it^ and the most 'preg- 
nant ivith consequences.^^ 



I SHALL not, in my restricted limits, undertake anything 
like a full history of so great a controversy. I shall merely 
attempt to develop the principleSj and sketch the general 
course of the conflict. 

It is happy for us, however, that there is a mountain-top 
so situated that to it we can easily ascend, and from it 
distinctly and accurately survey the course of this whole 
conflict. This lofty mountain- top is that eminent Christian 
father and divine, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. 

It will be conceded, by all competent judges, that the 
most momentous and influential crisis in the Avhole of this 
great theological conflict occurred during the fifth century, 
in the emmently radical and able controversy between him 
on the one hand, and Pelagius. Celestius and Julian, on the 

If it is any honorable evidence of intellectual gi-eatness 
to be able to control, from age to age. the theological specu- 
lations of the profoundest and most experimental minds in 
the church, and, after the eminently able discussions of the 
present day, to become once more the master spirit, 
towards whom many leading minds are beginning to gravi- 
tate, as a centre of revolution and of light, that honorable 
evidence clearly belongs to Augustine. 


In an able article on the doctrine of original sin, 
in the Christia?i Review for January, 1852, of which Pro- 
fessor Sheddj of Auburn, is the author, there is an open 
and avowed return to the fundamental positions of Augus- 
tine, as essential in order to n. lintain the true depth and 
vitality of the doctrine. Of Augustine he says, " In two 
traits he never had a superior, — depth and penetration." 
Again, referring to the theory that all men sinned in 
Adam's sin, he says: " Augustine, although the first to 
philosophize upon this difficult point in order to bring it 
within the limits of a doctrinal system, has, nevertheless, 
as it seems to us, not been excelled by any of his success- 
ors in the profundity and comprehensiveness of his views." 
He considers that as the most profound theological period 
in which all the evangelical churches stood together on his 
ground ; and seems to anticipate a speedy return to it, as 
the opening of an age of deeper and more vital theology. 
These views were set forth in the organ of the great 
orthodox Baptist denomination of our country, and were 
received by them, so far as I know, with universal applause. 
Certainly, so it was with IVie Watchman and Reflector ^ 
of Boston, one of the most influential papers of that denom- 
ination. The editor of that able paper speaks of it in the 
following terms : 

"It is an article discussing at considerable length, and 
with metaphysical acumen and logic seldom surpassed, a 
docjjrine of theology necessarily fundamental. The writer 
takes ground that back of consciousness, and of all outward 
manifestations, there is in man an evil nature, — a corrupt 
fountain, forming the source of whatever is sinful in his 

The editor, moreover, is manifestly a convert to the 
opinions of Prof Shedd, and anticipates the final triumph 


e-i" his views, for he proceeds to say : '' We do not see how 
the force of the writer's reasoning can be evaded. He 
belongs to the school of Augustine, Turretin and Calvin, 
though bringing to the investigation of his subject more of 
the fruits of scripture philology and of philosophy than 
were furnished to the hand of those distinguished defenders 
*)f the faith. He regards the scientific statement of the 
doctrine of original sin as having made no advance since 
the framing of the Westminster Catechism in 1643, and 
eees no prospect of advance for the future in this depart- 
ment of theological inquiry. 

"Remarking of 'those ages of controversy, the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries,' he says: 'Those who 
held the doctrine of a sinful nature, and of a sinful nature 
that is guilt, stood upon one side, and stood all together ; 
and those who rejected this doctrine stood upon the other 
side, and also stood all together. The Christian church 
was divided into two divisions, and no more. And this, 
because the controversy was a thorough one, owing to 
the profound view of sin taken by the disputants on the 
Augustinian side ; the metaphysical rather than the merely 
psychological aspect of the doctrine being uppermost.' 

"Since the period here alluded to, various systems of 
theological belief and denial have come into existence. 
Socinianism has flourished on the continent, in England, 
and in this country. The same may be said of Armin- 
ianism as the distinguishing element of Methodism, and as 
having largely permeated the Episcopacy, the Lutherans, 
the General and Free Will Baptists. Under the lead of 
Rev. C. G. Finney, Drs. Taylor, Barnes and others, a 
system of what is sometimes called ' New Divinity ' has 
also come into vogue. The denial of original sin, as held 
by these men, and at the time referred to, is a marked 


feature of each of these systems ; while, of course, there is 
great general diversity between them. We cannot help 
thinking that a true or a false theory of original sin exerts 
a vital influence upon theology, either to preserve it pure, 
or to corrupt it. It would not be surprising again to see 
men holding to the doctrine of a sinful nature, and that 
nature guilt, standing upon one side, and all standing 
together ; and those rejecting the same doctrine standing on 
the other side, and all standing together. There are tend- 
encies towarcbv this issue, which it is not difficult to mistake. 
And when that\ issue is fairly reached, there will be fewer 
hiding-places of )error than now exist." 

Again, in a notice of this number of the Christian 
RevieiD he says : 

"The opening article, on the doctrine of original sin, by 
a writer who chooses to withhold his name, is a rare con- 
tribution to the metaphysical side of that profound subject. 
' Sin a nature, and that nature guilt,' is the running 
title, and indicates the writer's position, — just the position 
which harmonizes with scripture and with consciousness, 
and establishes man's need of the redemption which is in 
Christ. In the main coinciding with Edwards, it differs 
from him on points pertaining to the will, and will furnish 
to the metaphysical student some views on those points 
which will specially arrest his attention. It may be 
doubted whether a more profound or more valuable theolog- 
ical article has lately been given to the pubhc." 

The Piiritafi Recorder^ a prominent organ of the ortho- 
dox Congregationalists, says of the article : "It treats of a 
subject that is destined to occasion no little discussion ; and 
it treats of it in a masterly manner." 

I mention these things as striking signs of the times, 
and as a proof that it is not needless once more to look 


thorouglily into the opinions of Augustine. By many it is 
thought that his views have become as lifeless as the 
entombed remains of the antediluvian and ante-Mosaic 
ages. E. H. Sears, in a recent able and deeply interesting 
work, entitled ''Regeneration," thus expresses his 
views : " Pleasing omens already indicate that this form of 
belief is ceasing to become active. We lay it off, then, in 
the persuasion that it is taking its place among the fossil- 
ized remains of a former theologic world, which old con- 
vulsions had turned up and left bare to our wondering and 
curious gaze." It is obvious, however, that the views of 
Augustine are not destined to lose their hold on men 
of eminent piety and intellectual power, at least until they 
have been once more thoroughly reviewed and reconsidered. 
Nor ought we to wonder at this. His mind was one of 
uncommon scope, richness and power. His works are, in 
all parts, full of the seeds of thought. They were, during 
the middle ages, the great encyclopedia of the theological 
sciences. We rarely, if ever, find a profound Christian 
and an eminent divine, from Gregory the great to Luther 
and Calvin, who had not been moulded by the study of 
Augustine. Among the scholastic divines, Neander says, 
" The dogmatical bent of Augustine exercised the most 
decided influence on the minds of the age." Of AnseM 
of Canterbury, Neander remarks that " he was the Augus- 
tine of his age; " and that " he exerted the most important 
influence on the theological and philosophical turn of the 
twelfth century." Yet, " the works from which his mind 
derived all its nourishment, and which, as he continually 
studied them, gave an impulse to all his inquiries, were the 
Bible and St. Augustine." In addition to his rich and 
creative intellect, the deep piety of Augustine enabled him 
thus to draw to himself the great evangelical leaders of 


each successive age. In addition to this, it ouglit to be said 
that the discussion of the great questions concerning the 
moral character and relations of man has never been so 
much more comprehensive and thorough, at any one time 
since Augustine, than it was in his day. that any subse- 
quent age has been fully and properly qualified to sit in 
judgment upon him. The more that great original contro- 
versy is examined, the deeper will be our conviction of the 
extent and profundity of the discussion. Pelagius, Celes- 
tius, and especially Julian, were men of uncommon abihty. 
They left few new modes of assailing the views of Augus- 
tine to the ingenuity of their successors. Nor did the 
indefatigable mind of Augustine shrink from their encoun- 
ter on any point. The question, also, as to preexistence, 
was at that time more an open question than it has evei 
since been, or is now ; and was not overlooked in the dis 
cussion, as it has generally been from that time to this 
The question as to the proper interpretation of the las-' 
part of the fifth chapter of Romans, which is the chief 
passage relied on for disclosing the relations of Adam to 
his race, was then more an open question than it has evei 
been since that time. In short, the highest issues of this 
whole discussion were then first made, and were so deeply 
discussed that no subsequent generation has ever reached a 
point of vision high enough to enable them thoroughly to 
reconsider them. 

/ It is not, therefore, without reason that I have selected 
this as the point of vision, — the lofty mountain- top from 
which to review the whole discussion. 



This period includes about four centuries, extending 
from Christ nearly to the fall of the western Roman 
empire. In it occurred the earliest and most exciting dis- 
cussions as to the Trinity. These, however, I shall not 
notice, but shall fix my attention solely on the great conflict 
that is now before us. 

It is a striking peculiarity of this period that it opened 
under the influence of no human systems of theology. The 
sources of theology were in the possession of all, but had not 
been explored. The Old Testament was in existence, and 
Christ and his apostles had taught and written. The Holy 
Spirit had descended, and Jews and Gentiles had been con- 
vinced of sin, and, being united to Christ by a living faith, 
had learned the mysteries of a Christian experience. 
Without any metaphysical theory as to the origin of sin, 
they were convinced by facts on every side, as well as by 
the word of God, of the deep depravity of all men. Of 
the moral state, both of the Jewish and Pagan world, Paul 
had given a dark picture in the first chapters of the epistle 
to the Romans. Besides all this, in every true convert a 
Christian experience, without any theological theory, dis- 
closed the deep depravity of the heart. Yet, for many 
years, these abundant materials were wrought up into no 


system. No great theologians followed the apostles. An 
immense chasm separated the apostolical fathers from them. 
The men whom God inspired tower upwards like mountains. 
Their uninspired successors at once sink down to the dead 
level of the plains below. 

As years rolled on, however, assaults were made upon 
various doctrines of the word of God by different classes of 
errorists, or else attempts were made to undermine or cor- 
rupt them by mixtures of erroneous systems. It thus 
became necessary to define the real doctrines of Christian- 
ity, and to sustain them alike against open assaults and 
insidious corruptions. 

Which of the two moving powers of Christianity should 
have the ascendency in these opening theological movements 
would, of course, depend upon the nature of the attacks 
made, and of the defence which was thus rendered necessary. 

The defence of the divine origin of Christianity against 
Jews and Gentiles was the first work of the church. But 
they were called, very soon, to repel attacks on the char- 
acter of God, charging him with having violated the princi- 
ples of honor and of right in his dealings wdth men, both 
as to their natures and powers, and his action upon them. 
Of course, this rendered necessary and called forth defences 
of God, in which the principles of equity and of honor were 
recognized, and arguments were presented to prove that 
God had always and perfectly regarded them. 
/ It is plain, from what I have before said, that such a 
course of events would lead to such statements concerning 
the constitution and faculties of man, and the freedom and 
power of his will, as would tend to superficial views of 
human depravity. Accordingly, when we take a general 
view of the main course and logical drift of the discussions 
on the moral character of man and the grace of God which 


preceded Augustine, obvious facts authorize us to saj tLat 
thej did finally result in superficial views of human 
depravity. I do not mean that the doctrine that all men 
are sinners, and that they need to be saved by the grace of 
God through Christ, wa^i ever denied. On the other hand, 
it was universally maintained. But the sinfulness of man 
was not so developed as to tend to those views of innate 
depravity which produce the deepest forms of Christian 
experience, — those forms in which there is a keen sense of 
the utter moral weakness of man, and of his entire depend- 
ence on the grace of the regenerating and sanctifying Spirit. 
Instead of this, there was a development of those forms 
which make prominent the energies of the human will, as 
free and competent to fulfil all the demands of the law and 
of the gospel. Accordingly, the final result was that the 
errors of Pelagianism were developed from these tendencies 
carried out to their extreme issues. 

It is well known that the whole church, with one voice, 
maintained the freedom of the will before the discussions of 
Augustine and Pelagius. Especially was this true of the 
oriental church. The Greek fathers carefully excluded firom 
their theological system the idea of a nature depraved and 
punishable before action. According to them, no man was a 
sinner until he had voluntarily transgressed the laws of con- 
science and of God, and this no man was under any neces- 
sity of doing. We are now prepared to understand and to 
believe Neander, when he says that " Pelagius was a dili- 
gent student of the oriental church teachers ; and the form 
in which he found Christian anthropology exhibited in those 
writers corresponded with the peculiar development of his 
own inward life." (Torrey's Neander. II. 573.) The 
great idea of his experience, the same emment historian 
States to be, to determine "how far man might advance 


towards perfection, by a self-active development of the 
germs of goodness lying in his own moral nature, by the 
superior energy of the will, by self-control." 

I have already stated, in general terms, how it happened 
that the first development of the church was in this direc- 
tion. I remarked that it originated from the nature of the 
first great controversial attacks to which the early Christians 
were exposed. The nature and form of these attacks I shall 
now more particularly consider. One of the most important 
proceeded from the Gnostics. The assaults, also, of the 
Manicheans, and of the philosophers who inculcated the 
doctrine of fate, tended in the same direction. Gnosticism, 
it is well knoAvn, developed itself in a systematic and con- 
centrated attack upon the Old Testament. 

The Gnostics, holding that matter is in its own nature 
essentially evil, and productive of sin, sought to explain the 
evils of this world as the result, not of the action of the 
supreme God, but of a deity called the Demiurgus, or world- 
maker, who, from preexisting elements, had formed this 
material system, and in it involved in the bondage of mat- 
ter spirits of divine origin from the heavenly regions, who 
thereby were rendered sinful and corrupt. This Demiurgus 
they asserted to be the God of the Old Testament ; and 
most of them regarded him as an evil and malignant being, 
whom Christ was revealed to destroy, in order to deliver 
men from bondage to him and to matter. In proof of these 
iassertions, they appealed to his acts, as recorded in the Old 
Testament. This, of course, resulted in an attack on the 
real God of Christianity, which the church was called on to 
repel. They alleged, in particular, his despotic and unjust 
conduct, in punishing children for the sins of their fathers, 
and in violating the free will of man ; as, for example, in the 
case of hardening Pharaoh's heart, and, in general, by his 


arbitrary and irresistible decrees. Is there any reason, 
then, to wonder that, in defence of God and of the Old 
Testament against such charges, the early fathers should 
have concentrated their energies in a full development and 
defence of the doctrine of the freedom of the will, and in 
the exposition of those bold passages which represent God 
as hardenino^ men and turning; their hearts to evil in such a 
manner as to consist with the laws of honor and of right, 
and with just views of human responsibility 7 Moreover, 
as the Gnostics taught that only one out of the three classes 
into which they divided men had natures capable of a holy 
development, is it to be wondered at that the church should 
earnestly seek to demonstrate tha.t no man had a nature 
essentially evil and sinful before action, and as such inca- 
pable of a right and holy choice of God and of his king- 
dom ? Afterwards, the Manichean notion of a nature essen- 
tially evil in itself called for a repetition of the same course 
of reasoning. And, as the doctrine of fate, which had per- 
vaded the pagan world, encountered them on every side, it, 
of course, impelled them with augmented momentum in the 
same direction. Accordingly, it is not possible to state 
in stronger terms than they have abundantly used the great 
fact of man's perfect free agency, as a capacity of choosing, 
with the power of contrary choice, in every instance of vol- 
untary and responsible conduct. This is so fully conceded 
by all writers on the history of dogmatic theology, of any 
authority, that it is superfluous to produce any documentary 
evidence of the fact. 

It is also evident, beyond denial, that they conditioned 
God's decree of election upon his fore-knowledge of the vol- 
untary conduct of those to whom the offers of mercy should 
be proclaimed. In addition to this, by their opposition to 
the Gnostic and Manichean dogmas concerning natures 


essentially evil, they were, in fact, led definitely to deny 
the existence of a sinful nature in man. Hence, Gregory 
of Nyssa, in his work concerning children prematurely 
removed, says, '* The cJiild^ free from all sin, finds itself 
in the natural state, and needs no purification for its health, 
because it has as yet fallen into no disease of the soul." 
(Emerson's Wiggers, p. 346.) Chrysostom also says, " We 
baptize children, though they have no sin^ that they may 
have hohness," &c. At the same time, they did not deny 
that all men do in fact sin, and thus, becoming guilty and 
corrupt, need the atonement of Christ. Moreover, in gen- 
eral they held that the sin of Adam, in some way, had 
so affected his race that it stood connected with this result. 
Still, however, they considered the only immediate effects 
of this sin to be natural death, a higher degree of sensual 
excitability, and exposure to a higher power of temptation. 
And yet on these points some of them spoke with great 
caution, lest they should seem to undermine the idea of a 
true and real free agency. 

Of the fathers, up to the death of Origen, or the year 
254, Hagenbach says : 

" The opinions of the fathers were not as yet fully devel- 
oped concerning the moral depravity of every individual, 
and the existence of sin in mankind generally, as the effect 
of the sin of the first man. Many felt too much disposed to 
look upon sin as the voluntary act of a moral agent, to con- 
ceive of a kind of hereditary tendency transmitted from one 
generation to another. The sinful acts of every individual 
appeared to them less the necessary consequence of the first 
sin, than a voluntary repetition of it. In order to explain 
the mysterious power which almost compels men to sin, 
they had recourse not so much to original sin, as to a sup- 


posed influence of the demons, wMch, however, cannot 
constrain anj man to trespass." 

In the preceding passage, I think, however, that the 
statement would have been more correct if he had said tha,t 
sorne^ rather than "many," were disposed to call in ques- 
tion any kind of hereditary tendency to sin. Concerning 
the Greek fathers down to the time of Au2;ustine, Hagen- 
bach also remarks : 

^'Even those theologians, who kept themselves free from 
the influence of the Augustinian system, supposed that the 
sin of Adam was followed by disastrous effects upon the 
human race, but restricted them (as the fathers of the pre- 
ceding period had done) to the mortality of the body, the 
hardships and miseries of life, and sometimes admitted 
that the moral faculties of man had been affected by the fall. 
Thus, Gregory of Nazianzum, in particular (to whom 
Augustine appealed in preference to all others), thought 
that both the ^ovi and the Hi^x^ had been considerably 
impaired by the fall, and regarded the perversion of man's 
sentiments, and its consequence, idolatry, which the writers 
previous to his time had ascribed to the influence of demons, 
as the effect of the first sin. But he was far from supposing 
the total depravity of mankind, and the entire loss of the 
free will. On the contrary, the doctrine of the freedom of 
the will continued to be distinctly maintained by the Greek 
church. Athanasius himself, commonly called the father 
of orthodoxy^ asserted in the strongest terms that man has 
the ability of choosing between good and evil ; and was so 
far from believing in the general corruption of mankind, as 
to look upon several individuals, who lived prior -^^c the 
appearance of Christ, as righteous. Cyrill of Jerusalem 
also assumed that men are born in a state of innocence, and 
that a free agent alone can commit sin. Similar views were 


entertained by Ephraim the Syrian, Gregory of Nyssa, 
Basil the Great, and others. Chrysostom, whose whole 
tendency was of a practico-moral kind, brought the liberty 
of man and his moral self-determination most distinctly for- 
ward, and passed a severe censure upon those who endeav- 
ored to excuse their own immoralities by ascribing the origin 
of sin to the fall of Adam." 

In support of these statements, he quotes many passages, 
of which I shall omit all except those from Cyrill of Jeru- 
salem. He says, '' We come into this world without sin, 
and sin of free choice." " The soul has free will, and the 
devil can suggest temptations, but he cannot compel to sin 
contrary to choice." ^' If any one through his own neglect 
is not deemed fit to receive grace, let him not censure the 
Spirit, but his OAvn unbehef " (Cat. iv. 19, 21, and xvi. 
23.) Properly to understand these views of the Greek 
fathers, we must consider against what errors they were 
aimed, and remember that eyen those who held that infants 
were born sinless, as Cyrill. and Gregory of Nyssa, believed 
that there was still in the race a universal tendency to sin. 
and, in opposition to pride and self-conceit, urged the deep 
actual depravity of man. 

It is too plain to need proof that these views of the 
Greek fathers are based upon a laudable and reverential 
purpose to defend God against all charges of violating the 
principles of equity and honor ; but it is no less obvious that 
they fend to superficial views of human depravity. They 
also tend to a degradation of free agency itself, in the way 
which has been pointed out in considering the Unitarian 
and some forms of the New School theology. For it is 
plain that every effort to account for developments so uni- 
versally and so deeply depraved as are those of the human 
race in this world, by regarding them as the natural result 


of free agency as such, of necessity degrades free agency 
itself. Moreover, all efforts to prove that free agency, as it 
exists in this world, is such as God ought in honor and jus- 
tice to confer on new-created minds, naturally leads to low 
views of what is possible in the original and upright state 
of new-created minds. Accordingly, in the Greek fathers 
we find low views of the state of original righteousness in 
which man was created. Hence, Neander remarks that 
" the Pelagians, like the older, particularly the oriental 
church teachers, with whom they, in fact, more especially 
coincided, compare the state of the first man with that of an 
innocent, inexperienced child; only with this difference, 
that, as a thing necessary in order to his preservation, his 
spiritual and corporeal powers were already unfolded to a 
certain extent." Moreover, in comparing the Greek with 
the Latin church, he remarks, ' ' By means of Augustine, 
whose influence did not extend to the eastern church, the 
general system of (western) doctrine took its shape and 
direction more decidedly from the doctrine of redemption as 
a centre, and from the anthropology (of Augustine) con- 
nected therewith. But among the Greeks the case teas 
otherwise. Whilst, in the western church, the Augustinian 
scheme of doctrine had become dominant, in the Greek 
church the older and more indefinite mode of apprehending 
the doctrines of grace, of free will, and of providence, — a 
theory bordering on Pelagianlsm, — had been preserved." 
Any one can satisfy himself of the truth of this view by a 
reference to John of Damascus, the great systematic divine 
of the Greek church, who has preserved the oriental system 
as it was in the days of Chrysostom, excluding all the modi- 
fications introduced by Augustine. 

In connection with this state of facts let it now be noticed 
that it is conceded that the religious experience of the 


period before Augustine did not have that deep Pauline 
character which was afterwards developed in Augustine, and 
in those who adopted his views. Hagenbach says : "In 
opposition to the opinion that conviction of sin, accom- 
panied by powerful excitement, which attains to a sense of 
pardon only after internal struggles, is alone the sure crite- 
rion and indispensable condition of the Christian's charac- 
ter, we may safely refer to the primitive church, in which, 
to say the least, such a notion of sin did not prevail." His 
explanation of this phenomenon appears to me singular and 
inadequate. In days of external martyrdom, he informs 
us, such an experience was not needed. But, " when per- 
secutions ceased, it became a duty imperative on the church 
to cultivate the internal martyrdom in opposition to exter- 
nal triumphs." This internal martyrdom, he tells us, 
" consisted in the subjection of the heart to the power of 
the Holy Spirit, in the sense of Augustine, which pre- 
pared the way for the regeneration of the church in after 
ages." He thinks that one experience belonged very 
properly to the childhood of the church, but the other to a 
period of necessary subsequent development. From this 
view I beg leave to dissent. Did not Paul live in the 
martyr-age 7 Yet he had the same deep experience and 
self-crucifixion with Augustine ; and he inculcated it as a 
proper and necessary part of Christian experience, in all 
ages. Moreover, ought not the heart to be subjected to the 
power of the Holy Spirit, in all ages, as truly as in the 
ages after Augustine ? There are others who account for 
such cases of deep conviction by the supposition tliat the 
subjects of them were men of violent passions, and power- 
ful sensual tendencies, who, like Augustine, for a time 
wallow in sin, or at least are called to a violent struggle 
with their appetites and impulses. What, then, shall be 


said of the case of Edwards, moral, intellectual and refined 
from his youth up, and surrounded bj nothing but pure 
and intellectual society ? How is his deep Pauline and 
Augustinian experience to be explained, on this theory? 
To me it is plain that the type of experience before Augus- 
tine was, to a great extent, caused by the tendencies of the 
prevailmg doctrinal system, and that the change of doctrine 
effected by Augustine introduced a deeper style of Chris- 
tian experience. A strikmg confirmation of this view is 
found in the fact that, in the Greek church, — retaining 
their original system, — the Augustinian experience has 
rarely, if ever, been found, even to this day. To complete 
our view, it ought to be added, that during this period the 
ascetic system, which is based upon the idea that the origin 
of sin is to be found in matter, — a principle of Gnosticism, 
with which the church, in spite of her conflicts against that 
system in general, was early infected, — struck its roots deep 
in the Cln^istian world, and developed itself in the form of 
monastic institutions. The tendency of this ascetic s^-stem, 
in all its forms, is to magnify the works of man, and to hide 
the free grace of God. We shall find in this, in connection 
with the superficial theology which has already been con- 
sidered, a sufiicient account of the want, at that time, of a 
det;p Christian experience of the same kind which charac- 
terized the apostle Paul, as well as the profound Augustine. 
Here, then, we see that, in accordance with my opening 
statement, the principles of equity and of honor, in their 
re'Iction from Gnosticism, Manicheism and fatalism, have, in 
fact, given rise to superficial views of human depravity, 
which are not adapted to produce a deep Christian expe- 
rience. These, at length, were taken up and carried beyond 
the prevailing views of the church, even to their extreme 
results, by Pelagius and his compeers ; and thus led to that 


great reaction wliich was developed bj the agency of tliat 
eminent master-spirit, through whom the channels of a pro- 
found Christian experience were disclosed and deepened for 
all coming ages. 

All that PelagiuSj Celestius and Julian did, was to carry 
out to their natural results the principles of honor and 
right, on the supposition that this is our first state of exist- 
ence. Their doctrine, in brief, is, that man has such a moral 
constitution and such powers as God ought, as an honorable 
and just being, to confer on every new-created being. All 
men receive so much from the Creator, and Adam had no 
more. Therefore, all men are naturally as well off as 
Adam was 1)efore the fall. Hence his fall injured himself 
only, and not his posterity. Herein Pelagius differed from 
the early fathers, so far as they held that the fall of Adam 
injured the moral constitution of his posterity, and produced 
a hereditary propensity to sin. By.t he did not differ from 
them in teaching that all men are free agents, with full 
power to obey the lavf of God and the gospel ; and that there 
is in them no sin, and no sinful nature, before voluntary 
action. Such was the general view of the whole church 
before his day. 

It followed from the views of Pelagius that a man could 
live without sin, and so be saved by the law, without any 
need of the atonement. Hence the Pelagian doctrine that 
th^ law is as good a means of salvation as the gospel. 
Hence, too, the idea of Pelagius, that the grace of God con- 
sisted in part in making man a free agent, and also in the 
presentation to him, in various ways, of motives adapted to 
excite him to a right use of his powers as a free agent ; hence, 
too, his reluctance to admit the absolute necessity of any 
other grace exerting an interior and decisive power uj)on 
the will, such as to deliver it from the bondage of sin, and 


restore to it true liberty. Pelagius also differed from the 
preceding fathers by holding that natural death was not the 
result of Adam's sm, either in himself or in his posterity. 
He held that death was inseparable from our nature ; and 
that, therefore, Adam and all his offspring would have died, 
even if he had not sinned. 

Note on p. 272. 
The tendency of teaching that the mind of man enters this world in a 
normal and nnfallen state to degrade our conceptions of free agency, and 
of the true original dignity of the nature of man, and to produce superfi- 
cial views of the reality and guilt of sin, I have not fully discussed in any 
one place according to its importance, but have viewed it in various 
aspects during the progress of the general discussion. To enable any one 
who desires it to unite these separate discussions in one view, I will refer 
.to the other places where they occur : 

Boo. n.^O'aP-^-PP- 141-146. 


Book IV. ^ Chap. m. pp. 272^77. 




From what has been said, it appears that up to the time 
of Augustine there had been no serious controversy among 
good men on the subject of human depravity. The assaults 
on Christianity from without, by the Gnostics, Fatalists and 
Manicheans, had united the whole church in defending the 
freedom of the will, and the rectitude of God with respect 
to the original constitution and powers of man. Thus, all 
things had given to the principles of equity and of honor 
an ascendency and a preponderance which threatened at 
length entirely to eradicate the radical and thorough doctrine 
of human depravity. That such was the tendency, is 
obvious from the fact that Pelagius, by whom this work was 
at length consummated, was a diligent student of the early 
fathers, especially those of the Greek church, and found in 
their doctrine concerning man views which accorded with 
his own experience. 

We come now to a great and necessary reaction from this 
mode of thinking and reasoning, the influence of which has 
not been expended even to this day. It has not, indeed, 
ever gained the ascendency, so as to unite all good men in 
one harmonious phalanx ; it has never been able to prevent 
powerful reactions against itself ; yet, as compared with what 


preceded it, it was a great advance, and it has effected a 
great work for God and for humanity. 

Its peculiar and fundamental work was to restore to the 
church that deep and radical view of human depravity 
which is found in the word of God, and without which all 
efforts to effect the moral renovation of man and of society 
will be superficial and powerless. 

The great instrument of divine providence, in effecting 
this reaction, was Augustine, a man whom God had fitted, 
by his own experience, to sound all the depths of a true and 
Pauline Christian consciousness, and thus to form an accu- 
rate conception of what are the original and normal relations 
of the mind to God, and of what are the corruptions and 
perversions which have been introduced into it by sin. 

He is that spiritual mountain-top upon which I propose 
to stand, in order to survey this great conflict, from its first 
development to this day. And, as his influence enters so 
deeply into all the religious history of the world since his 
day, I think it important, so far as possible, to establish a 
Christian sympathy and good understanding between him 
and Christians of the present age. 

I am the more desirous to do this, as he is extensively 
misunderstood. He is thought of as the advocate of a sys- 
tem so stern and fearful that he must have been a mere 
heartless rcasoner, ready to sacrifice all the finer feelings 
of humanity upon the altar of an iron logical consistency. 

It is true that Augustine was a logician ; but it is no less 
true that no man ever had a larger, a more tender, a more 
sensitive heart, or a deeper abyss of profound and glowing 
emotion. Indeed, it was the great, the final end of Augus- 
tine, to love with the whole intensity of his being, and to be 
loved with an infinite and almighty love, a love such as can 
be found nowhere but in God. It was this union of power- 


ful logic and deep emotion which gave Augustine such 
power over the minds of men, — a power to which every age 
has borne witness, from that day to the present. 

These characteristics of Augustine are noticed by Wig- 
gers, as effecting in him a union of scholasticism and mysti- 
cism. But, as some of his remarks on the subject of a mys- 
tic experience are adapted to produce misunderstanding, I 
here introduce them for the sake of some remarks. 

Concerning him, then, Wiggers thus speaks: "From 
all this, the following characteristic of Augustine is mani- 
fest. The most distinctive and the most interesting thing, and 
that by which his individuality is the most strikingly indi- 
cated, is the union of mysticism with scholasticism, — that 
is, the endeavor by feeling to reach the infinite, with the 
endeavor to reduce the infinite to our comprehension. In 
this respect, Augustine is altogether remarkable, — a pecu- 
liar phenomenon, one might say, of Christian antiquity. 
Certainly, we find no father in whom we meet with just as 
many proofs of a mystic way of thinking as of the preva- 
lence of intellect. How can any one express himself in a 
more mystical way than to speak of the embraces of God, 
and of sucking his milk? And how clearly do we hear the 
mere mental philosopher, when he disputes with the Dona- 
tists, and still more when he seeks to prove ' the servile 
will' in opposition to the Pelagians ! The ecstasies also, of 
wMch the vestiges are found in his confessions, and which 
put him in the condition of those who have prophetic visions, 
show what a dominion fancy, the mother of mysticism, had 
over him. It might, indeed, be objected that we ought to 
consider the age of Augustine. But even in his latter age, 
during his contests with the Pelagians, striking traces are 
seen of the mystic mode of thinking, particularly in his 
assertions respecting the grace of God. Fancy, therefore. 


and sagacity were combined in him in a manner wholly 
peculiar, without our being able to say that either prepon- 
derated over the other. This peculiar combination, by 
which he was at once a mystic and a scholastic, is the great- 
est singularity in Augustine. In full accordance with this 
peculiarity, or sufficiently explained by it, are both his ear- 
nest effort for truth and his devout disposition, — his deep 
religious feeling, which speaks forth in so lovely a manner, 
particularly where he is not acting the polemic, e. g. in the 
Confessions, and which must have made him abhor that 
pride of human virtue which ascribes a merit to its own 

"Augustine had by nature an excessive propensity to the 
pleasures of sense, of which he often complains himself, and 
which was also confirmed by the early errors of his youth. 
This propensity must in due time have led him to mysti- 
cism. For, when it afterwards became more intellectual, his 
fancy must needs have revelled in a world above sense ; and 
this readily affords a psychological explanation of the fact 
that his love to God was never entirely free from a tinge of 
sensuous love. As a necessary consequence, the new Pla- 
tonic philosophy, which, from its mystic tendency, was well 
adapted to his mind, confirmed him still more in this mode 
of thinking. 

" From what has been said, we may readily infer that 
Augustine possessed much natural kindness, and a delicate 
susceptibility for friendship. Eut the acuteness of his 
understanding inclined him freely to admit consequences 
from principles once established, even when repugnant to 
his moral feeling. Hence was he so formidable a disputant. 
The study of Aristotle's works had certainly a very salu- 
tary influence on his consecutive mode of thinking. Against 


the justness of his conclusions no objection can easily be 
made, if we only admit the principles.'' 

On this I would suggest, that it is, beyond all doubt, pos- 
sible not only to mix sensuous love with the love of God, 
but also to create a false religious experience, of which God 
shall be the nominal object, but all the elements of which 
shall be sensual. Such an experience seems to be intima- 
ted in the writings of Hafiz, and other eastern mystics. Nor 
is it uncommon to denote such religious excitement by the 
term mysticism. The term, I am aware, is also used, in a 
better sense, to denote a true and powerful inward experi- 
ence of the love of God. But this ambiguity of usage 
makes it the more important not to leave the remarks of 
Wiggers unguarded. If he means that the love of Augus- 
tine towards God was mystical in the sense of being 
improperly tinged by sensualism, I beg leave to dissent from 
his view. It is well known by all, that God has so made 
material things that they are analogous to spiritual things. 
Is not light analogous to truth, heat to powerful love, 
water and food to the nutriment of the soul which is found 
in truth and love, and harmony in sounds to mental har- 
mony among spirits ? Is not the relation of God to man 
set forth by analogies taken from a human father or a 
mother, or from the sun, or from a rock or a fortress ? Is 
it, then, sensual to think of God, or to love God, by the aid 
otf such analogies ? This would condemn the greater part 
€)f the religious experience of the Bible ; for it is always 
expressed by means of such analogies. Suppose, then,. •*hat 
we pass from such analogies as these, to another, n^ less 
scriptural, and eminently elevated and sacred, — I mean the 
relation of the lover and the beloved, the bridegroom and the 
bride, the husband and the wife. This analogy i.s, in fact, 
no more material, no more sensual^ than those of which I 


have spoken, and others of the same kind. So far as they 
are material, they all stand on exactly the same ground. 
Nor is it any more sensual or material to illustrate the love 
of God by the relations of the bridegroom and the bride, 
than it is by the analogies of light, heat, an earthly father, 
the sun, a shield, a rock or a fortress. 

I concede that by the analogy of the bridegroom and the 
bride an appeal is made to the strongest human passions, 
and that these are often corrupted. But it is no less true 
that a love of God may exist so spiritual, so pure, so 
powerful, that it shall altogether transcend the power of 
such passions and emotions, and subordinate, purify, regu- 
late, and control them, and impart to them a sanctity un- 
known before, by using them as the emblems of a higher 
love. If the higher love is wanting or feeble, the use of 
such emblems is dangerous ; if that love is as it should be, 
it is safe. That this higher love did exist in full power in 
Augustine, there is no reason to doubt. It ruled his mind, 
and subordinated and sanctified all the analogies by which it 
was expressed. Indeed, he has given us a definite state- 
ment of his views and experience upon this point. Appeal- 
ing to God, he says : 

" Not with doubting, but with assured consciousness, do 
I love thee, Lord. * * But what do I love, when I love 
thee 7 Not beauty of bodies, nor the fair harmony of time, 
nor the brightness of the lighrt so gladsome to our eyes, nor 
sweet melodies of varied songs, nor the fragrant smell of 
flowers and ointments and spices : not manna and honey ; not 
a corporeal form, beautiful to embrace. None .f these I 
love, when I love my God ; and yet I love a kind of light, 
and melody, and fragrance, and food, and embraces, wjien I 
love my God ; the fight, melody, fragrance, food, embraces, 
of my inner man ; where there shineth unto my soul what 


space cannot contain, and there soundeth what time bearetb 
not away; and there is fragrance which breathing dis- 
perseth not, and food is tasted which eating diminisheth 
not, and therp are embraces which satiety dissolveth not. 
This is it which I love, when I love my God." (Confess- 
ions X. VI. 8.) What can more perfectly and beautifully ex- 
plain the passages to which Wiggers refers as proofs of 
mysticism ? Does it not divest them entirely of all tinge 
of sensual love in any improper sense ? The full passage 
with reference to sucking the milk of God will show that 
Wiggers has not done justice to Augustine in so brief a 
reference. Addressing God, he says : " What am I to my- 
self, without thee, but a guide to mine own downfall 7 Or, 
what am I when truly blessed, but an infant sucking the 
milk thou givest, and feeding upon Thee, the food that 
perisheth not?" Who, that has heard God saying, "As 
one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you," 
or, " I am the bread of life," can take exception to Augus- 
tine's touching expression of filial dependence and love 
towards God? Did not David thirst for God ; and when he 
found him did he not declare that in the enjoyment of his 
love his soul was satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and 
that his loving-kindness was better than life ? In a simi- 
lar style, also, does Augustine thus lament his former in- 
gratitude : "Thou light of my heart, thou bread of my 
inmost soul, thou power who givest vigor to my mind, and 
who qnickenest my thoughts, I loved Thee not. ^ * Too 
late loved I thee, thou beauty of ancient days, yet ever 
new ! too late I loved thee ! * * Thou didst call and 
shout, and my deafness ceased ; thou didst flash and shine, 
and my blind eyes were opened. Thou breathedst odors, and 
1 have inhaled them, and pant for thee. I tasted, and 
hunger and thirst. Thou touchedst me, and I burned for 


thy peace. Wlien I shall, with my whole self, cleave to 
thee, then I shall no more have sorrow or labor, and my life 
shall wholly live as wholly full of thee." ^ * " And some- 
times thou admittest me to an unusual affection in my 
inmost soul ; rising to a strange sweetness, which, if it were 
perfected in me, I know not what in it would not belong to 
the life to come. ^ 

And through what process did Augustine pass, in order to 
reach such visions of God, and such seasons of heavenly 
communion with him? In this respect, his experience 
and that of Edwards were the same. Both had seasons of 
deep and unutterable conviction of sin ; both learned deeply 
to loathe themselves, and to long, with intense longing, to 
eradicate the roots of pride, that most dangerous and 
deepest defilement of lofty, highly-gifted minds. With 
regard to this, Augustine says to his God : " Thou knowest, 
on this matter, the groans of my heart and the floods of my 
eyes. For I cannot learn how far I am advanced in being 
cleansed from this plague ; and I much fear my secret sins, 
which thine eyes know and mine do not." ^ * "Eain 
would I that the approbation of another should not increase 
my joy for any good in me." How truly coincident is this 
last expression with the statement of Edwards, before 
quoted, — "The very thought of any joy arising in me, on 
any consideration of my own amiableness, performances or 
experiences, or any goodness of heart or life, is nauseous and 
detestable to me." Yet was he constantly afilicted by con- 
jcious tendencies to pride. Augustine, in hke manner, 
-jails this " his daily furnace," the constant affliction of his 
'joul. He desired in all things to see and honor God, and 
to him he confessed that he ought to value fame solely for 
benevolent ends. " Behold, in thee, Truth, I see that I 
ought not to be moved at my own praises, for my own sake, 


but for the good of my neighbor." Knowing, as he did 
the treachery of liis heart, he earnestly sought the searching 
of the omniscient eye. 

To this brief view of the Christian experience of Augus- 
tine it may be added, that he was naturally a man of ge- 
nial, humane and tender feelings. We see in him, therefore, 
no tendencies to a stern theology, unless there is in man a 
sternness of depravity that calls for stern measures of jus- 
tice^on the part of God, whilst, at the same time, it opens 
the way for the interposition of sovereign grace. If such is, 
in fact, the character of man, then it is to be expected that 
one like Augustine would arrive at a profound and unwa- 
vering conviction of the fact. 

On the whole, we need not wonder that Augustine has 
had so long-continued a sway over the human mind. He 
had the fervor, the deep passion and the imagination, of an 
oriental temperament ; and yet with it was combined the 
keen logic of a western mind. He was master of all the 
learning of his age that was accessible in the Latin tongue. 
Though like Edwards in the union of logical power with a 
profound experience, he greatly surpassed him in rhetorical 
power ; for he had studied rhetoric as an art, and had 
taught it before he became a Christian bishop. Hence, his 
style is universally more rhetorical and finished than that 
of Edwards. 

Is it to be wondered at that such men as Bernard, 
Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Jansenius, and 
Pascal, should be drawn by a sympathetic attraction to the 
profound doctrinal and experimental discussions of such a 
mind 7 Or that, from age to age, they should light their 
lamps at his fire 7 

There is in the Agamemnon of iEschylus a beautiful and 
Drilliant passage, in which Clytemnestra describes the trans- 


mission to herself by signal fires, kindled successively on 
mountain-tops, of the intelligence of the downfall of Troy. 
If we will substitute in it the idea of time instead of space, 
we may use it as a lively image of the mode in which the 
fires of Christian doctrine and experience have been trans- 
mitted from Augustine down the tract of time, kindling 
upon one mountain-top after another, till they reach the 
remotest ages. 

I give the passage in the translation of Potter. Though 
slightly inaccurate, it is equally good for my purpose. In 
reply to the inquiry what herald conveyed the news, Cly- 
temnestra answers : 

*' The fire, that from the height of Ida sent 
Its streaming light, as from the announcing flame 
Torch blazed to torch. First Ida to the steep 
Of Lemnos : Athos' sacred height received 
The mighty splendor ; from the surging back 
Of the Hellespont the vigorous blaze held on 
Its smiling way, and like the orient sun 
Illumes with golden-gleaming rays the head 
Of rocky Macetas ; nor lingers there. 
Nor winks unheedful, but its warning flames 
Darts to the streams of Euripus, and gives 
Its glittering signal to the guards that hold 
Their high watch on Mesapius. These enkindle 
The joy-announcing fires, that spread the blaze 
To where Erica hoar its shaggy brow 
Waves rudely. Unimpaired the active flame 
Bounds o'er the level of Asopus, like 
The jocund moon, and on Cithocron's steep 
Wakes a successive flame ; the distant watch 
Agnize its shine, and raise a brighter fire. 
That, o'er the lake Gorgopis streaming, holds 
Its rapid course, and on the mountainous heights 
Of -^giplanctus huge, swift-shooting spreads 
The lengthened line of light. Thence onwards wavea 
Its fiery tresses, eager to ascend 
The crags of Prone, frowning in their pride 


O'er the Saronic gulf: it leaps, it mounts 
The summit of Arachne, whose high head 
Looks down on Argos : to this royal seat 
Thence darts the light that from the Idaean fire 
Derives its birth. Rightly in order thus 
Each to the next consigns the torchy that fills 
The bright succession.^^ 

To complete tlie image, however, we should remember on 
what mountain and by whom the fire was kindled that first 
shone on Augustine. It was kindled by Paul and his com- 
peers on Zion, the mountain of our God. 


Augustine's principles of equity and 


We have seen that before Augustine all things, especially 
in the oriental church, had taken such a course that, in 
efforts to defend God, two results had come to pass. The 
standard of the original righteousness which God ought to 
confer on new-created minds was lowered ; and, also, that 
superficial views had been given of the deep original deprav- 
ity of man. The result was, that neither subject was truly 
seen. The principles of honor and right were unduly 
degraded, the character of man was unduly exalted. This 
is the necessary result of endeavoring to justify God on the 
assumption that this is our first state of existence. And 
yet, even so, no available harmony was secured. 

It was reserved for Augustine to restore each of these 
subjects to its true place in the system, and to attempt to 
effect a harmony between them. 

I shall consider, in order, first, what he endeavored to do 
on each of these great points, the principles of honor and 
right, the original and deep depravity of man, and then set 
forth the mode of harmonizing these moving powers of 
Christianity which he proposed and defended. 

In general, then, I remark that he entirely abandoned 

all efforts to prove that men, as they enter this world, have 

such constitutions, propensities and powers, as the principles 

of equity and honor require God to confer on new-created 



minds. He clearly conceded and fully taught that this was 
not the fact. To make this plain, it is only necessary to 
consider his principles of equity and honor, and his views 
of men as they enter this world. 

We come, then, to the fundamental question on which 
this present discussion turns, — What were the principles of 
honor and right, as held by Augustine ? 

1 reply, Augustine held that the principles of honor and 
right demand of the great Creator that he should give to 
all new-created minds such an original constitution, and 
such powers, and place them in such circumstances and 
under such influences, that they should enjoy a full and fair 
probation, in which they had full power, by their own free 
will, to secure a permanent confirmation in holiness and 
eternal life. These principles Avere not incidentally avowed 
by Augustine, but were fully, formally and scientifically 
set forth : not merely in his early writings, but in his last 
and most mature works, and especially in his treatise, De 
Correptione et Gratia (concerning reproof and grace), 
addressed to the Adrumettian monks, near the close of his 
labors in the Pelagian controversy. Without going into 
any analysis of that or any other work as a whole, I will 
merely state what pertains to the point now under consid- 

The constitution and powers which he regarded as de 
manded of God for new-created beings by the principles of 
honor and right, were such as result in a true and real free 
will. The influence and circumstances demanded of God 
are such that this free will shall not be left to its own 
unaided energies, but shall be so invigorated and sustained 
by divine influence that the creatures shall be able always 
so to choose the right, and persevere therein, that the result 
shall be an eternal confirmation in good. 


In accordance with these views, Augustine asserts con- 
cerning the angels that they were, when created, endowed 
with the requisite powers, and aided by the necessary divine 
influence ; and that some of them, by their own free will, 
revolted, whilst others so persevered in good as to merit 
final confirmation in holiness and eternal life. A single 
extract will make this point sufficiently plain : 

'' God so ordered the life of angels and men, that in it he 
might first show what their free will could efiect, and then 
what the beneficence of his grace and the judgment of his 
justice could efiect. Accordingly, certain angels, of whom 
he is the chief who is called the devil, fled from the service 
of the Lord God. by free will. But, thus escaping from 
his goodness, in which they had been happy, they were not 
able to escape his judgment, by which they were rendered 
most miserable. But the rest, through the same free will, 
continued in the truth, and merited and received a certain 
assurance that they should never fall." 

It appears from this that God dealt with angels and men 
on the same principles. What those principles were will be 
more clearly disclosed in what he subsequently sets forth 
concerning God's providential dealings with men. Let us, 
then, consider on what principles, according to Augustine, 
God dealt with man : 

" So, also, he made man with free will, and, although 
about to fall, yet happy during his ignorance of it, because 
he perceived that it was in his power both not to die and 
not to become miserable. In which state of uprightness 
and freedom from sin, if through the same free will he had 
chosen to remain, truly, without any experience of death or 
unhappiness, he would have received, through the merit of 
this perseverance, the same fulness of blessedness with which 
the holy angels were rewarded; that is, that he should 


never after be able to fall, and that lie should have certain 
assurance thereof" 

Thus far, Augustine has spoken in general terms con- 
cerning the original powers and free will of men and angels. 
A more particular view of what was implied in the original 
state of his mind may be gathered from other parts of his 
works. He particularly states that God so made man that 
he had a perfectly faultless and sinless nature. He asks, 
" Who does not know that man was made sane, and fault- 
less, and furnished with free will, and free power for holy 
living?" (De Nat. et. Gr. 43.) His intellect was in the 
most perfect state. " Such was his power of mind, and use 
of reason, that Adam docilely received the precept of God 
and the law of commandment, and might easily have kept 
them if he would." (lb.) He ascribes to him '' the most 
excellent wisdom." He says, also, that in the inward man 
Adam was spiritual, after the image of Him that created 
him. (De Gen. ad Lit. vi. 28.) He asserts the same in 
the following passage: "Not only Genesis, but also the 
apostle, proclaims that man was made after the image of 
God, when he says man is the image and glory of God. (1 
Cor. 11 : 7.) And, that it may be clearly understood that 
he was made in the image of God, not according to his old 
corrupt and sinful nature, but according to a spiritual con- 
stitution, the same apostle admonishes us (Col. 3 : 10) that 
we should put off habits of sin, that is, the old man, and put 
on the character of Christ, which he calls the new man. 
And, that he may teach that we once lost this, he calls it a 
renovation ; for he thus speaks, ' Ye have put on the new 
man, who is renewed in knowledge after the image of him 
who created him.' " (Contra Adamantum Manich. 5.) 
It is true that Augustine very often, if not generally, 
explains the assertion that God made man in his own image. 

Augustine's principles of equity. 293 

after his own likeness, with reference to his powers of reju- 
son, conscience and will, and his rule over the creatures 
which is based on these powers. But the passages already 
quoted show that he also included in the image of God 
true holiness, or the moral image of God. In this passage 
he clearly combines both ideas. 

Accordingly, of his will he says, ^' that it was constituted 
without sin, and that no passion resisted it, and that it had 
such power that the decision of perseverance was properly 
left to such great goodness and such great facility of holy 
living." (De Cor. et Gr. 11.) In another place he says 
that "by free will, which then had its powers uncorrupted, 
they obeyed the law^ not only with no impossibility, but 
even with no difficulty," and " that man had so very free a 
will, that he obeyed the law of God loith great energy 
of mind.'" (Op. Imp. vi. 8, and iv. 14.) 

Yet, with all this, as man was mutable, and but a limited 
creature, it was not safe to leave him entirely to himself 
God only, the infinite Creator, is above all temptation and 
all danger of falling. Man, therefore, left to himself, could 
not always extricate himself from danger, nor insure his 
own perseverance in good. Hence, it was necessary that 
God should confer on him an additional divine influence, 
by way of aid and support ; and, accordingly, he bestowed 
the requisite aid. By this aid, perseverance in good was 
put entirely within the power of man, and yet still he was 
not forced to persevere, nor was his free will coerced. Even 
this aid he could abandon. After describing the nature of 
this additional aid, he says : "It was, therefore, in his 
power to remain, if he would, because the aid was not want- 
ing by which he could, and without which he could not, 
perseveringly retain the good which he would. But, be- 
cause he refused to persevere, truly it was his fault, whos« 


merit it would have been if he had chosen to persevere, as 
did the holy angels, who, whilst others fell by free will, stood 
by the same free will, and deserved to receive the due 
reward of this permanence in good, — that is, so great a ful- 
ness of blessedness as is involved in a certain assurance 
that they shall never fall." (De. Cor. et Gr. 11.) 

We can now decide how high Augustine carried his ideas 
of the demands of honor and right, by considering whether 
he regarded this superadded influence as a matter of grace 
or of debt. Probably those who have not particularly 
examined the matter will be surprised to hear that he 
regarded even this aid as a matter of debt, and not of grace. 
His words are very explicit : 

" If this aid had been wanting either to an angel or to 
men, when they lo ere first created^ their fall would have 
involved no guilty since their nature was not made such 
that without divine aid they could insure their own perse- 
verance in good, even if they would, and the aid was want- 
ing without which they could not insure perseverance." 

Augustine says this, as Neander well remarks, on the 
ground that " God is the absolute spirit, without whose 
fellowship, without whose support and assistance, no creat- 
urely spirit, whether angel or man, can persevere in good- 
ness, in the sound and healthy development of his essential 
being, Avhich is akin to the divine." (Neander, ii. 604.) 
Therefore, Augustine boldly and decidedly takes the ground 
that if the divine aid which puts such perseverance in good 
fully into the power of every new-created mind is wanting, 
then no guilt is involved in the fall of such a mind. 

It is deeply interesting and affecting to read such state • 
ments as these from the great father of what are considered 
the stern doctrines of Calvinism. Certainly such sentiments 
find a response in every generous and honorable mind. 

Augustine's principles of equity. 295 

Our moral intuitions declare tliem to be true. They place 
in a most striking light the obligations of the great Creator 
to every new-created mind of men or angels. 

And now I do not hesitate to ask, Have any of my state- 
ments of the principles of honor and right ever risen higher 
than this? 

By the promulgation of such views, Augustine conferred 
an unspeakable benefit on the Christian world. He elevated 
their ideas of the nature and possibihties of free agency, 
and erected a standard by which to judge fairly of existing 
facts in the history of man. It rendered possible and 
enforced more deep and thorough views of human depravity ; 
for, surely, no man can pretend that men as they come into 
this world develop themselves according to the law of new- 
created minds, as laid down by Augustine. 

The actual influence, too, of these views, has been great. 
We find a constant reference to them m Anselm and other 
great thinkers of profound Christian experience during the 
middle ages. They were recognized and reproduced by the 
Reformers. They have given form to the language of the 
Westminster standards. The original righteousness of the 
new-created man, the fact that he was left to the freedom of 
his own will, and that his sin was his own free, unforced, 
and therefore criminal act, — all these are purely Augus- 
tinian conceptions, reproduced in almost his own terms, 
after a lapse of ages. 

With such a standard of original righteousness, and with 
such an experience as Augustine had of the deep depravity 
of his own heart, the disorder of his passions and appetites, 
and the moral impotence of his own will, — knowing, too, 
what he did, by the increasing restoration of his own powers 
to their normal state, of the original relations of the human 
mind to Grod, — can it be wondered at that he took deep views 

■:296 CONFLICT of ages. 

of the depravity of men as they now are ? His doctrine is 
what we should have anticipated from these facts, — that 
men enter this world vfith deranged constitutions and disor- 
ganized powers of soul and body, their intellectual powers 
darkened by sin and blind to the true beauty of God and 
spiritual things, their wills in a state of moral impotence as 
to that which is holy and good, their propensities, passions 
and affections, deeply corrupt. Such was man, in his view, 
as an individual ; and, being such, he is also subjected to the 
power of depraved human society, and of evil spirits. 

In these deep views of Augustine, too, we recognize a 
fountain-head of thought and doctrine for the profound 
thinkers and experienced Christians of all following ages. 

But how could Augustine hold such views consistently 
with his doctrines of equity and of honor ? 

In answering this inquiry, we shall see that, although 
Augustine stood on the verge of truth, and even reached it 
in the form of his words, yet he failed, through adverse 
influences which he had not surmounted, to reach it in fact ; 
and, therefore, left the great conflict of the moving powers 
of Christianity, more fully developed than ever before, to 
agitate and divide all coming ages. 


Augustine's theory of reconciliation. 

I HAVE said that Augustine in his theory of reconcil- 
iation stood on the verge of truth, and that he even reached 
It in the form of his words. Let us proceed to consider the 
development of his theory. 

His whole system turned upon the position that all the 
claims of all men on God. as new-created beings, had been 
already forfeited, even before they were born. So far, then, 
Augustine coincided with the theory of preexistence. He 
escaped from the pressure of his own principles by the great 
idea of A forfeiture previous to birth. 

Did Augustine, then, believe in the proper preexistence 
of men ; and that they had sinned each separately, and in 
liis own proper person, before their birth into this world? 

We answer no. But, nevertheless, he tried, by a dif- 
ferent kind of preexistence, to account for and to justify 
such appalling results as occur in this world. He supposed 
and believed that all men so preexisted in Adam that they 
could and did act in his act, and forfeit together all of their 
rights, in that great and original forfeiture of Adam. 

This is, indeed, a kind of preexistence that is available 
only through the imagination, and not through the reason, — 
yet it gave to much of his language the form of truth. He 
spoke of men as if they had preL^xisted, enjoyed their rights 


and forfeited them ; and this language reacted through hig 
imagination on his feelings, and gave him relief Bj the 
aid of this fiction of the imagination, when men were born 
into the world he did not look on them as properly new- 
created beings, or as having the rights of new-created 
beings, but as beings who were created six thousand years 
before thej were born, and who, at the time of their crea- 
tion, received from God all the rights of new-created beings . 
and, soon after, freely and wickedly forfeited them, and so 
came at that time under his just judgment and condemna- 
tion, and have been born under them ever since. 

God, he taught, gave to the whole human race a good 
original constitution, good powers, free will and divine aid, 
in Adam. But in him they abandoned this aid. This is 
what Augustine means by the statement, " Which aid if 
man had not forsaken by free will, he would always have 
been good ; but he forsook it, and was forsaken. For the 
aid was such that he could forsake it when he chose, and in 
it he could persevere if he chose." * * * ''For he 
had power even to persevere, if he would ; but that he 
refused proceeded (descendit) from free will, which then 
was so free that it could choose both right and wrong. But, 
now, in the case of those to whom this aid is wanting, it is 
the punishment of sin ; and in the case of those to whom it 
is given, it is given by grace, and not of debt.'' (De Cor. 
et Gr. 11.) Man, in all these passages, means not 
merely Adam, but the race. Let it be also considered that 
the fact that men have not now the original aid', is the 
penalty of their original forfeiture. 

Once more I would call particular attention to the fxct 
that Augustine, in his own peculiar way, reached, at least 
ideally, a theory of preexistence, upon which, after all, 'the 
depth and power of his system depended. It enabled him 

Augustine's theory of reconciliation. 299 

at least verbally to conceive and to speak of every man, as 
he is born into this world, as a being already fallen by his 
own act. and who l)y his sin had forfeited all claims to his 
original rights as a new-created being, and who had thus 
fallen under the principles of just sovereignty. 

It is also worthy of special notice that Augustine 
ascribed to the original free will of man such self-deter- 
mining power as to exempt it entirely from the decree of 
predestination. He did not deny, on general grounds, such 
freedom of the will. He did not, as has often been alleged, 
subject it to a fatal necessity on universal principles. He 
did it merely in the case of fallen man. In Adam all men 
were free, and enjoyed in full perfection the self- determining 
power of the will. No divine purpose interposed to con- 
trol its use. They were left to the freedom of their own 
will. That freedom they abused and fell, and in this state 
the principles of predestination first reached them. Thus, 
predestination did not cause their fall. In Adam, on the 
other hand, they had perfect free will, and all needed divine 
aid. Therefore, that first and universal fiill v/as not pre- 
destined. It was the result of mere free will ; and was, 
therefore, without excuse. Thus, in words at least, and in 
appearance, did Augustine reach a theory of preexistence, 
and by it maintain his principles of honor and right, and 
vindicate the ways of God to man. Stated in his own 
words, his theory is, " Because by free will he forsook God, 
he experienced the just judgment of God, that he should 
be condemned with his whole race ; for, &ince they all were, 
as yet, existing in him, they also had sinned in him. For, 
as many of this race as are set free by the grace of God 
are freed from that condemnation by which they are thus 
held bound. Whence, also, if no one had been liberated, 
no one could justly blame the judgment of God." 


On these views Neander remarks (vol. ii. 260)5 " I^ 
this way he could still hold fast at one point to the holiness 
and justice of God, and to the free guilt of man ; could 
remove the origin of evil from God, and push it back to the 
originally present, free, self-determining povv^er of man. 
And, by his supposition of the necessary and incomprehen- 
sible connection between the first man and the entire race, 
the act of the first man may be considered as the proper 
act of every man ; and so, on this ground, the loss of the 
original freedom is a loss for which all are at fault." 

There is not, in the whole history of the human mind, 
an intellectual phenomenon more remarkable, and in some 
aspects more sublime, than this. 

It is remarkable from the nature of the doctrine pro- 
pounded, — a doctrine which one would suppose, a 'priori^ 
that no one could ever have believed. It is sublime from 
the extent and magnitude of the power which it in fact 
exerted after it had been by Augustine established as an 
article of belief 

In its logical bearings, of course it was a wide-reaching 
theory. And Augustine was not without serious difficulties 
in some questions of detail in its application. But he was 
not a man to shrink from the fair results of his own princi- 
ples. Having adopted the theory and caused it to triumph, 
he carried it out consistently to all its consequences. 

The forfeiture which he alleged he never treated as any- 
thino; verbal. He resrarded it as an absolute and fixed 
reality. So real was it, that even unconscious infants, who 
did not gain remission by baptism, were, for it alone, con- 
signed at least to the penalty of endless loss of heaven. Not 
only did Augustine inflexibly teach this doctrine, but he 
caused it to be for ages the doctrine at least of the West- 
ern church. 

Here, now, we have a mountain-summit of thought, from 
which we can survey this whole great conflict, both in pre- 
ceding and in succeeding ages. We have, also, a standard 
of comparison, with which we may compare the various 
theories of preceding and of subsequent writers. Let us 
look at Augustine's position. 

If the mode of forfeiture which he alleged, and upon 
which his whole defence of God turned, had been possible 
and real, then there would have been a place for the element 
of justice in his system. But, as there was no real preex- 
istence and no real action, it was not possible, and of course 
was not real ; and therefore his whole system was, in reality, 
devoid of justice. He admitted and insisted upon the very 
highest standard of judgment, when setting forth the prin- 
ciples of honor and right by which the conduct of God 
towards new-created minds should be judged ; and then, in 
fact, resorted to a mere verbal evasion of them, by a shad- 
owy and unreal theory of the preexistence and action of 
the millions of the human race in Adam, thousands of years 
before they were born. 

Yet, shadowy and baseless as is this theory, upon it for 
centuries the doctrine of the "Western church as to Oiiginal 
sin, and also all the doctrines which grow out of b ?ffsr.w>. 
made to rest. 




It is often assumed that Augustine developed a doctrine 
of original sin in which deep thinkers and men of a pro- 
found Christian consciousness have agreed with him, in 
every subsequent age. This Prof. Shedd and others 
assume ; and, to a certain extent, it is true. In the idea of 
a forfeiture before birth they have agreed with him, and 
also in the idea that the depravity which precedes action in 
this life is the result of that forfeiture. 

But, as to the mode of explaining the forfeiture itself, 
which, after all, is the most essential point, the theory of 
Augustine has not proved satisfactory to the human mind. 
Indeed, as will soon appear, he experienced great trouble 
from it himself One obvious and striking proof that it is 
not fitted to satisfy even the most orthodox portions of the 
church, is found in the fact that it has been definitely 
renounced in this country by the leaders of the great body 
of Old School Calvinists, — I mean the Princeton divines. 
Instead of it they have introduced another and a different 
theory, the nature and validity of which I have already 
considered. They do not differ from Augustine as to the 
fact of forfeiture ; but as to the mode of it, which is, after 
all, the great question, they do differ from him to the extent 
of utter and absolute opposition. Yet they assert that the 


doctrine taught by them is the true doctrine of the Reform- 
ers. Again, Prof Shedd in his theory differs from them 
both, and is opposed to them both. Still further, Presi- 
dent Edwards in his theory differs from them all, and is 
opposed to them all. Once more, many of the scholastic 
divines, and of the Reformers, have advanced another 
theory, different from all the preceding, and opposed to them 
all. And, finally, Haldane rejects all existing theories as 
unsatisfactory and injurious, and declares that the only safe 
course is to rest on the unexplained assertions of the word 
of God. Such, then, has been the response of the human 
mind to the theory of Augustine, and that, too, after centu- 
ries of earnest and profound discussion. And what is the 
fair import of all this ? Is it not that the problem that 
they have undertaken to solve involves conditions that 
render it an absurd and impossible problem ? What is the 
problem 7 It is to show how the human race could have 
forfeited their rights as new-created minds before they 
enter this world, without having existed and acted in their 
own persons before they enter this world. This problem is 
as if all the algebraic skill of ages were required to be 
expended on the equation a^-{-x=^ — 7 as given by inspira- 
Uon. It is not likely that they would ever reach any 
«;atisfactory results ; for the equation is absurd and inipos- 
Bible. Nor would it be any better to say that we must 
receive it as a profound mystery ; for it is within the reach 
of the human mind, and we can see that it is absurd and 

But, if we may trust the intuitions and unambiguous 
testimony of all ages, the rights of ncAV-creatcd minds are 
the clearest and the most momentous realities in the universe 
of God. And' is it to be supposed that sucii rights can be 
forfeited at all before the existence of the mind, by the 


action of which a forfeiture can be made ? Is not the whole 
theory of human rights of every kind a mere mockery, if 
the great foundation rights can be undermined and evacu- 
ated by an alleged forfeiture before existence ? 

Calvin expressly concedes that nothing is more remote 
from common sense than that on account of the offence of 
one man all should be made guilty, and so the sin of one 
become the sin of all. '' Quum a communi sensu nihil 
magis sit remotum, quam ob unius culpam fieri omnes reos, 
et ita peccatum fieri commune." (Inst. ii. 1, 5.) The 
language of Pascal, the devoted and profound Pascal, is even 
stronger than this: ''^ Undoubtedly^''^ he says, ''nothing 
appears so revolting to our reason as to say that the trans- 
gression of the first man imparted guilt to those who, from 
their extreme distance from the source of evil, seem inca- 
pable of such a participation. This transmission seems to 
us not only impossible, but unjust." (Thoughts, Part ii. 
ch. 5, § 4.) From such astounding results Pascal found 
no mode of escape but to discredit the decisions alike of our 
intellectual and moral intuitions as unworthy of credit, 
because opposed to what he deemed a revealed fact. 

Such is a compendious view of the responses of the 
human mind to the theory of Augustine, in view of every 
solution that has yet been devised for explaining how a new- 
created being can come into existence under a forfeiture of 
its original and inherent rights by an act which it never 
performed, and which took place ages before it was created. 
I can say of this nothing stronger than Pascal has said. 
Nothing appears so revolting to our reason. It seems to 
us not only impossible, but unjust. And, in view of the 
action on the human mind of this theory for ages, is there 
not the best possible reason to believe that it is in fixed and 
sober reality impossible and unjust ? Is the truth wont to 


act on the human mind as this theory has done ? Has it 
not been tried long enough to disclose its true merits, if. it 
has any ? Is it desirable any longer to attempt to base the 
redemption of the church, and God's eternal glory, on a 
theory that seems to the purest, holiest, humblest minds, 
impossible and unjust? Is it safe for the human mind any 
longer to pursue such a course ? Is there no danger of a 
reaction into universal scepticism, if the most absolute of our 
intellectual and moral intuitions are thus contemned and 
trodden under foot as worthless and invalid ? 

I desire, however, at this point once more to call attention 
to the fact that this reasoning does not at all affect the great 
doctrine that men enter this world under a forfeiture, and 
with innate depravity. This, which is the real element of 
strength in the system of Augustine, and which has given 
it all its power, is neither impossible nor absurd. By sup- 
posing such a real and intelligible preexistence as I have set 
forth, all can see that it is both possible and just. 

My argument is directed simply against an absurd and 
impossible theory as to a real and important fact, and not 
against the fact itself I should not deem it necessary to 
say more, did I not know what is the mournful effect upon 
the human mind of being trained for ages to disregard the 
most sacred and fundamental intellectual and moral intui- 
tions, under the plea of faith and mystery. Tlie mind seems 
to be paralyzed and stunned, as if it had been smitten down 
by a blow, and cannot again, in that particular, react and 
rally, and recover the use of its powers. Such an effect has 
been extensively produced on the human mind, for ages, by 
this result of the discussion under Augustine ; for, when 
the plea of any great moral or intellectual intuitions has 
been once heard, and, after long, earnest and full debate, 
rejected, and the coui-se of thought has afterwards rolled on 


in disregard of them for subsequent centuries under tlie 
guidance of ecclesiastical authority, and of the original 
arguments, in one deep channel, it becomes almost impossi- 
ble to restore the human mind to the vantao;e-o;round on 
which it stood when the original conflict began. This effect 
of the Augustinian debates and decisions was, therefore, 
like a Waterloo defeat to certain fundamental principles of 
reason, honor and right ; a defeat by which the whole course 
of events has been changed in every subsequent age, to the 
present day. Then the great battle for those principles was 
lost ; and never since then have they been able to rally and 
reunite their scattered forces, and once more to bring them 
up to the encounter. 

I do not mean by this — as is apparent from my previous 
remarks — that the existence and the just authority of these 
principles in other important forms was denied. I have 
clearly evinced that such was not the fict. I do not mean 
that the results to which Pelagius, Celestius and Julian 
came were true. In my judgment, they were not. I do 
not mean that the fundamental facts as to the depravity of 
man for which Augustine contended were not true. In 
my judgment, they were. What I mean is, that these true 
facts were then for the first time fully and authoritatively 
established upon a theory of forfeiture which was, in the 
words of Pascal, both impossible and unjust ; and that ever 
since, the human mind has been degraded and crushed 
beneath the impossible task of vindicating and defending 
that theory, and has even been urged to the mournful and 
lamentable extreme of basing the redemption of God's own 
church and the whole glory of his kingdom upon that false 
and ruinous foundation, which cannot logically hold it up 
for one moment from an abyss of infamy and just abhor- 
rence. The human mind cannot be held back from abhor 


ring such a theory, except by the most unnatural violence 
to its divinely-inspired convictions of honor and of right. 

It will be observed that, in the preceding general view of 
the operation of the theory of Augustine on the mind, I have 
made some assertions of the truth of Avhich I have not as 
yet give-n any formal proof. I have done this deliberately. 
I desired to arrest attention, and to produce a call for proof 
And, since I suppose that call now to be made, I intend to 
show the truth of the facts asserted concerning the Princeton 
divines, Prof. Shedd, Edwards, the Reformers, Haldane and 
others, and thus to prove that the action of the theory of 
Augustine on the human mind has in all ages been such that 
we ought to regard it as being in reality what it appeared 
to be to Pascal — impossible and unjust. 

By the theory of Augustine, I mean the theory that 


the general and comprehensive theory. Under it are com- 
prehended all the modes in which different men have 
attempted to solve a problem that is inherently impossible 
and absurd. 



Let us, then, consider, in order, tlie various solutions of 
the problem how men can enter this world under a forfeiture 
of all their rights, if they have not preexisted and sinned, 
each in his own proper person. "We come, then, first, to 
the solution of Augustine, that all men did exist in Adam, 
so that they sinned in him in reality, though not in their 
own separate persons. Augustine, in his Retractions, 
expresses it thus : "Infants belong to the human nature, 
and are guilty of original sin, because human nature sinned 
in our first parents." In proof of this, he refers to the vul- 
gate translation of Rom. 5: 12, — "In quo omnes peccave- 
runt," — " in whom all sinned." Augustine, therefore, held 
to a mysterious unity of all men in Adam, such that in 
reality they all, as included in him in a common nature, 
sinned together with him, and thus incurred the forfeiture 
under which they are born. 

Now, that this solution acts on the human mind as if it 
were false and absurd, is obvious from the fact that the 
Princeton divines, the leaders of orthodoxy among the old 
Calvinists, have formally rejected it as such, and introduced 
another solution in its place. Moreover, they defend this 
new theory as the true doctrine of the Reformers. In this 
solution, it is still true that men are spoken of as sinning in 


Adam and falling with him. But, as Prof. Hodge dis- 
tinctly informs us, this "does not include the idea of a 
mysterious identity of Adam and his race, nor that of a 
transfer of the moral turpitude of his sin to his descendants. 
It does not teach that his offence was personally or properly 
the sin of all men, or that his act was in any mysterious 
sense the act of his posterity." 

So, also, we are told in the Princeton Review : " We 
deny that this doctrine (imputation) involves any mysterious 
union with Adam, any confusion of our identity with his, so 
that his act was personally and properly our act ; and, sec- 
ondly, that the moral turpitude of that sin was transferred 
from him to us, — we deny the possibility of any such 
transfer." (Princeton Essays, i. 136.) Indeed, after all 
the labors of Augustine to defend his solution, they call in 
question even the fact that he and his followers ever held to 
any such a unity of Adam and his race as we have stated, 
a union such as made his sin theirs, truly and properly. 
They think it incredible that Augustine ever taught such 
an absurdity. They admit, however, that Doderlein, 
Knapp, and Bretschneider, all assert it ; and they might 
have added Neander and Wiggers, and, indeed, all others, 
so far as I know, who have ever thoroughly investigated the 

But we need not refer to authority on such a point. The 
unequivocal testimony of Augustine himself puts it beyond 
all question. It appears that Jerome had taken and begun to 
advocate the position that the souls of all men are from time 
to time newly created by God, as fast as they are needed to ani- 
mate their bodies. Now, this is, at this time, the general faith 
of the church, and yet is not looked upon by the Princeton 
divines as inconsistent with their view of the guilt of man for 
Adam's sin. Had Augustine held such views as the Prince- 


ton divines now set forth, it would have caused him no 
trouble, just as it causes them no trouble. Far otherwise 
was the fact. Augustine regarded it as breaking up that 
unity of Adam and his race on which his theory of forfeiture 
rested. On this assumption, all men were not in Adam when 
he sinned. But, if so, he could not conceive how the guilt 
of Adam's sin could rest on them, since they could have had 
nothing to do with it. How, then, he asks, can they be 
justly condemned for it 1 Does not this imply that he held 
to a real though mysterious unity of Adam and all his pos- 
terity in his sin ? But Augustine shall speak for himself. 
Hearing of the views of Jerome, and fearing to arouse him 
to controversy by open opposition, in a letter to him he puts 
himself in the position of a learner, and seeks to arrest the 
course of his excitable and imperious friend by gentle means. 
Jerome did not see fit, for reasons best known to himself, to 
answer the inquiries of Augustine. Hereupon Augustine 
laid by his letter till after the death of Jerome, and then 
made it public. A very instructive letter it is. It clearly 
shows that even Augustine could not find undisturbed 
repose in his own views. But let us hsten to him, as he 
thus addresses Jerome : 

" Teach me, therefore, I entreat you, what I shall teach, 
teach what I shall hold, and tell me, if souls are created one 
by one for those who are born, when do they sin in the 
little ones so that they need remission of sins in baptism, as 
sinning in Adam, from whom the sinful body is propagated ? 
Or, if they do not sin, by what justice of the Creator are 
they so held responsible for the sin of another, when they 
are introduced into bodies propagated from him, that they 
are condemned, if the church does not relieve them by bap- 
tism, although they have no power to decide whether they 
•shall be baptized or not ? How can so many thousands of 


souls, which leave the bodies of unbaptized infants, be with 
any equity condemned, if they were newly created, and 
introduced into these bodies for no previous sin of their own, 
but by the mere will of Him who created them to animate 
these bodies, and foreknew that each of them, for no fault of 
his own, would die unbaptized ? Since, then, we cannot say 
that God either makes souls sinful by compulsion, or pun- 
ishes them when innocent, and yet are obliged to confess 
that the souls of the little ones are condemned if they die 
unbaptized, I beseech you, tell me how can this opinion 
be defended, by which it is believed that souls are not all 
derived from that one first man, but are newly created for 
each particular body, as his was for his body? " (Ep. ad 

Here he does not, indeed, openly avow the generation of 
souls ; nay, he elsewhere says that he would be glad, if he 
could, to believe in their creation. But he saw no way of 
removing the objection stated by him. Nor is there any. 
And, in fact, there is little reason to doubt that he really 
believed in the generation of souls. Does not the fact that he 
started such a difficulty, and could not solve it, prove, to a 
demonstration, that he held to a real unity of all men in Adam 
as the ground of their sinning in him and falling with him ? 
But this is but a small part of the evidence that exists to 
prove this point. We do not believe that any one, after a 
careful examination of Augustine, will call it in question. 
Nevertheless, now, the Princeton divines earnestly renounce 
this theory as absurd, and substitute another in its place. 
But this only the more clearly shows that the ground on 
which Augustine fought his great battle, and which is 
repudiated by them, is really untenable and defenceless. 

In place of this, however, they still defend, in another 
form, as we have seen, the idea of a forfeiture in Adam of 


all the rights of new-created beings. To effect this, they 
introduce the idea of federal headship and representation, 
and teach that, though we did not exist, and, of course, did 
not act, when Adam sinned, yet that, in virtue of the 
divinely-established representative headship of Adam, God 
regarded his act as our act, and withdrew from each indi- 
vidual of the race those divine influences w^hich are essential 
to his proper moral development ; in consequence of which, 
his nature inevitably becomes corrupt, and develops nothing 
but actual sin. 

The validity of this solution I need not now consider, as 
it has already been fully discussed ; and to that discussion I 

But, although the Princeton divines set forth such views 
as those of the Reformers, there is clear evidence that, to 
say the least, many of them held to still another and oppo- 
site solution of the great problem of forfeiture. They held 
that, by imputation, the sin and guilt of Adam were made 
to be the real sin and guilt of all his posterity ; not, 
indeed, their personal sin and guilt, but still their real sin 
and guilt. If this implies that which the Princeton 
divines declare to be absurd and impossible, — that is, a real 
transfer of sin and moral turpitude from Adam to all his 
posterity, — it is, nevertheless, a doctrine of some of the 
Reformers, and of some of the schoolmen before them. 
Indeed, it is but a natural result of the decision of the 
church and of most of the schoolmen in favor of Jerome's 
view, that the souls of all men are created by God, and 
not derived from their parents, and thus from Adam. In 
this they forsook Augustine, who plainly held that the sin 
of Adam was really the sin of all his posterity, because all 
his posterity were really in him when he sinned. But they 
were still desirous of agreeing with Augustine in the fact 


that Adam's sin was the real sin of the race. Therefore, 
having given up Augustine's basis of the doctrine, — that is, 
the derivation of souls from Adam, — they would be naturally 
led to seek out a new basis. This they found in a system 
of federal headship and representation, in which, by God's 
constitution, ordinance or decree, the sin of Adam should 
still be made the real sin of his posterity. Hence Whitby 
concedes to Bishop Davenant that, so far as the authority 
of certain of the scholastic divines is concerned, they do 
teach " that, by the decree of God, Adam sustained the 
person of all mankind ; and that, by the same decree (or 
ordinance), his posterity are guilty of his first sin, but not 
of his other sins," — but he attaches no weight to their 
authority. This view of the origin of the theory of the 
federal headship of Adam is confirmed by Knapp, who 
says that " this theory was invented by some schoolmen, 
and has been adopted by many in the Romish and Protest- 
ant churches since the sixteenth century." 

That by Owen, Turretin, the Westminster divines and 
others, the sin of Adam was regarded as being really the 
sin of his posterity, though not personally^ is proved at 
great length and beyond dispute in an article in the Chris- 
tian Spectator for September, 1831, in answer to the 
Princeton Review^ — an article to which no reply was ever 
made, and to which I refer for a more full view of this 
aspect of the case. It appears, then, that of the doctrine 
of the federal headship of Adam there are two forms : 
the more ancient one, that of those who hold that Adam's 
sin by imputation becomes ours tndy^ so that, though it is 
not our personal sin, it is yet our real sin, for which Ave 
are truly guilty ; the other and more modern one, that of 
those who, with the Princeton divines, assert that God 
merely regards and treats it as our sin, though in fact it 


is not, and we are entirely innocent in our own persons^ 
and free from all the moral turpitude of the sin. 

It hence appears that, in making out the result aimed at, 
— that is, a forfeiture in Adam by the race of all the original 
rights of new-created minds, — very different courses have 
been taken. First, a forfeiture by a real existence and 
action of the race in Adam ; then a forfeiture by the repre- 
sentative action of Adam, which by imputation becomes 
really their sin ; then a forfeiture by the same representa- 
tive action, regarded and treated as their sin, though in fact 
it is not. 

The view of Prof Shedd differs from either of these. 
He holds, with Coleridge, that there is no sin, or sinful 
nature, that is anterior to a free, self-determined act of the 
will. The sinful nature that he asserts to exist in man is 
merely such an act of the will ; not, indeed, a mere specific 
volition, but that main and controlling determination that 
carries with it all the powers and energies of a man, and 
devotes them to some object as the ultimate end of living. 
He speaks of the sinful nature of man as " that central 
self-determination, that great main tendency of the will to 
self and sin as an ultimate end." This, of course, must be 
a personal act, of which every man is the author. This 
self-determination of the will to sense and sin he regards as 
the fall of every man's Avill. Of it he says ^' that the fall 
of the will unquestionably occurs back of consciousness, 
and in a region beyond the reach of it. Certainly, no one 
of the posterity of Adam was ever conscious of that act 
whereby his will fell from God." Further, he holds that 
this region beyond the reach of consciousness was in Adam. 
''All men were, in some sense, coa^e?izf in Adam ; other- 
wise they could not have fallen with him." This view is 
not the view of Augustine, for he held that the common 


nature of all men sinned, and not that all men sinned 
together, each as an individual, and by a self-determining 
act of his own will. Prof Shedd concedes that such 
unconscious action in Adam is a mystery. He also ascribes 
his theory to the Westminster divines. In this he is 
directly at war with the Princeton divines ; for they assert 
that tnere was no such mysterious action of all men in 
Adam, and that the Reformers and Westminster divines did 
not believe that there was. 

The theory of Edwards is different from all these. I 
shall more fully state it hereafter. It is enough now to 
say that he held that God established a personal identity 
between Adam and all his posterity with respect to Adam's 
first sin, but not with respect to any other. Thus, the first 
sin of Adam is truly and properly the sin of every man, 
since with reference to that sin each is the same person with 
Adam. I need not undertake to prove that this view differs 
from and opposes all the rest. The thing speaks for itself. 
Still, the language used by those who hold either of these 
theories is in so many particulars the same with that of 
those who hold the others, that it is sometimes hard to tell 
on which of these various gi'ounds any writer stands, 
unless he fully defines and carries out his system. 

All of these solutions seem to have been given by different 
individuals since the Reformation. Sometimes writers use 
the language which belongs to two of them, or even to all 
of them, in a confused manner. This is not wonderful, for 
the mind of man has been so made by God that it cannot 
see any rational way in which the result which they aim at 
in common can be gained, — that is, the alleged forfeiture 
of the original rights of the whole human race by the act 
of one man. Therefore, any solution designed to explain 


such a result naturally tends to confuse the human mind, 
and to destroy its powers of discrimination. 

The more modern solutions, I think, have no advantage 
over that of Augustine. On the other hand, so far as he 
approximated to the idea of preexistence, there was at least 
an appearance of depth and reality in his theory, which is 
entirely wanting in the more modern views. 

Haldane, however, — a most eminent and devoted Chris- 
tian, and honored by God as the instrument of a great 
revival of religion on the European continent, — at last takes 
the ground that the sin of Adam is as truly ours as it was 
Adam's. He also holds that it is not made ours by imputa- 
tion, but is imputed to us because it is ours. Still, he 
refuses to enter into any explanation. Prof. Stuart had 
argued against imputation, as implying that God regards a 
sin as the sin of all men which is not theirs really and in 
fact. In reply to this, he says that "Adam's sin is 
hnputed to his posterity because it is their sin in reality j 
though we may not be able to see the way in which it is so. 
Indeed, we should not pretend to explain this, because it is 
to be believed on the foundation of divine testimony, and 
not on human speculation, or on our ability to account for 
it." "In opposition to all such infidel reasonings, it is 
becoming in the believer to say, I fully acknowledge, and 
I humbly confess, on the testimony of my God, that I am 
guilty of Adam's sin." " The difficulty that some persons 
feel on this subject arises from the supposition that, though 
the sin of the first man is charged on his posterity, yet it 
is not theirs. But the Scriptures hold it forth as ours in as 
ti'ue a sense as it teas Adam>s.''^ " Can God impute to 
any man anything that is not true ? If Adam's sin is not 
ours as truly as it was Adam's sin, could God impute it to 
us 7 Does God deal with men as sinners while they are not 


truly such ?" He also maintains that this view is not con- 
trary io reason, though mysterious. "A thing may be 
very disagreeable and far beyond the ken of human pen- 
etration, which is not contrary to reason. We are not 
entitled to pronounce anything contrary to reason which 
does not imply a contradiction. A contradiction cannot be 
true ; but all other things may be true, and, on sufficient 
evidence, ought to be received as true." According to 
this, it may be true that God has lied, or been malevolent ; 
for neither implies a contradiction. But, if it be said in 
reply, that to do so is contrary to his holy and righteous 
nature, and morally impossible, I reply the same is true 
as to any act contrary to those moral principles which God 
has made the human mind intuitively to perceive as true. 
Therefore, whatever opposes these is contrary to reason, 
even though not a contradiction. 

Of God's alleged dealings in this case, he says that they 
are "not such as to be vindicated or illustrated by human 
transactions. The union of Adam and his posterity is a 
divine constitution. The grounds of this constitution are 
not to be found in any of the justifiable transactions of 
men ; and all attempts to make us submit by convincing us 
of its propriety, from what we are able to understand upon 
a comparison with the affiiirs of men, are only calculated 
to impose on credulity, and produce unbelief We receive 
it because God says it, not because we see it to be just." 
" Those who have endeavored to vindicate divine justice in 
accounting Adam's sin to be ours, and to reconcile the 
mind of man to that procedure, have not only labored in 
vain, but actually injured the cause they meant to uphold." 

Haldane, as usual, regards his views of this matter as 
those of the Westminster divines and the Reformers. It is 
plain, however, that he is directly at war on this point with 


the Princeton divines, who teach that the sin and the moral 
turpitude of Adam are not, and cannot be, actually and 
i?i reality those of his posterity, but are only regarded 
as such, and that this is the uniform doctrine of the 

I am not sure that I have gathered up all the modes of 
solving the great Augustinian problem stated at the outset 
of this discussion, — that is, to show how men can forfeit 
their original rights before they are born into this world, as 
long as a real personal preexistence and real sin are denied. 
What I have produced, however, is enough to furnish evi- 
dence that the problem does, in fact, as Pascal says it seems 
to do, involve both an impossibility and injustice. Certainly, 
the human mind never acted under a system of truth as it 
has acted under the system which demands the solution of 
such a problem. The mind of Augustine never was at rest 
under it. His successors have never been at rest, but have 
fluctuated from view to view ; and yet no view has ever been 
proposed which has not been condemned by as sound ortho- 
dox and godly divines as have ever existed. Such, I do 
not doubt, are the Princeton divines ; and yet, even they are 
logically involved in Haldane's charge of ^^ infidel specula- 
tions^''^ for they deny that the sin and guilt of Adam are, or 
can be, as truly and properly ours as they are Adam's. 

After reading and carefully considering multitudes of 
statements, from Augustine down to this day, I cannot find 
any time or place in which all orthodox divines — as alleged 
by Prof Shedd — all stood on one side, and that Augus- 
tine's side, except in two particulars, — that is, that all men 
are born into this world under a forfeiture of their original 
rights, and with inherent depravity. But, denying, as they 
have done, a real personal preexistence and sinfulness of all 
men before birth, they have done nothing after this but 


multiply unsatisfactory solutions of an absurd and impos- 
sible problem. 

Before I close this chapter, since so much advantage is 
taken of the prestige of the name of Augustine, I will give 
a statement of his theory of our sinning in Adam, by 
a celebrated advocate of his doctrine. I have stated it 
as his theory, not that we sinned in him as coexistent 
and coiigent individuals, with each a self- determining will, 
according to the theory of Prof. Shedd, but, that in 
him human nature sinned as a great totality, which was 
afterwards distributed into the individuals of the race. This 
is clearly the view set forth by Odo or Udardus of Tournay, 
afterwai'ds Archbishop of Cambray. Being by nature prone 
to philosophical speculation, he became eminent as a teacher, 
but was devoid of piety. He was at length recalled from 
a worldly spirit by the power of a deep conviction of sin, 
wrought in him by the writings of Augustine, and ever 
after sincerely devoted himself to the service of God. For 
the sake of a specimen of the thinking and style of an 
eminent divine of .the middle age, I will give his views ; 
first in his own words, and then in a translation. The title 
of his work is as follows : 

" Odonis ex Abbate primo Tornacensi Episcopi Camera- 
eensis Ecclesiae de Peccato Originali libri tres." {Bib. 
Vet. Pat., vol. XXI. p. 230.) 

He thus propounds^ and answers the question to be con- 
sidered : 

" Quid distat naturale' peceatum et personale 7 

" Dicitur enim duobus modis peceatum personale et nat- 
urale. Et naturale est cum quo nascimur, et quod ab 
Adam trahimus, in quo omnes peccavimus. In ipso enim 
erat anima mea, specie non persona, non individua sed com- 
muni natura. Nam omnis humanse animoe natura commu- 


nis erat in Adam obnoxia peccato. Et ideo omnis humana 
anima culpabilis est secundum suam naturam, etsi non 
secundum suam personam. Ita peccatum quo peccavimug 
in Adam, mihi quidam naturale est, in Adam vero per- 
sonale. In Adam gravius, levius in me ; nam peccavi in eo 
non qui sum sed quod sum. Peccavi in eo non ego, sed 
hoc, quod sum ego. Peccavi homo, sed non Odo. Peccavi 
substantia non persona, et quia substantia non est nisi in 
persona, peccatum substantias est etiam personas, sed non 
personale, Peccatum vero personale est, quod facio ego 
qui sum, non hoc quod sum ; quo pecco Odo, non homo ; quo 
pecco persona, non natura ; sed quia persona non est sine 
natura, peccatum personae est etiam naturae, sed non natu- 
rale."— p. 233. 

Of this peculiar passage I subjoin a translation : 
" How does the sin of nature diifer from personal sin? 
" Two kinds of sin are spoken of, that of nature and per-^ 
sonal sin. The sin of nature is that with which we are born, 
and which we derive from Adam, in whom we all sinned. 
For my mind was in him as a part of the whole species, 
but not as a person ; not in mj individual nature, bat in the 
common nature. For the common nature of all human 
minds in Adam was involved in sin. And thus every 
human mind is blamable with respect to its nature ^ 
although not with respect to its person. Thus the sin by 
which we sinned in Adam is to me a sin of nature. — in 
Adam a personal sin. In Adam it was more criminal, in 
me less so ; for I, who am, did not sin in him, but that 
which I am. I did not sin in him, but this essence which 
I am. I sinned as the genus man, not as the individual Odo. 
I sinned as a substance, not as a person ; and because my 
substance does not exist but in a person, the sin of my sub- 
stance is the sin of one who is a person, but not a personal 


sin. For a personal sin is one which I, wlio am, commit^ 
but this substance Avhich I am does not commit ; a sin in 
which I sin as Odo, and not as the genus man ; in which I 
sin as a person, and not as a nature ; but, because there is 
no person without a nature, the sin of a person is also the 
sin of a nature, but not a natural sin." 

If all this is not, bj this time, perfectly clear, even to 
the lowest capacity, certainly it is not for the want of suf- 
ficient pains on the part of the distinguished archbishop. 
The diflficulty must rather lie in making that intelligible to 
the human mind which is, in the nature of things, absurd 
and impossible. Yet this elaborate view of the archbishop 
is merely an expansion of the definite statements of Augus- 
tine, upon whose ground so many eminent men among us 
are emulously declaring themselves determined to stand. 

In addition to the passage from the Retractions of Augus- 
tme already quoted, in which he asserts that it was human 
nature which sinned in our first parents, the following 
statements, as quoted by Wiggers, are very express : "In 
that one all have sinned, as all died in him. For those 
who were to he many in themselves out of him, were then 
one in him. That sin, therefore, would be his only, if no 
one had proceeded from him. But now no one is free 
from his fault in whom was the common natter e.^^ (Fp. 
186, C. 6.) "In Adam all have sinned, as all n) ere that 
one man.^'' (De Pec, Mer. I. 10.) "Those are not 
condemned who have not sinned, since that sin has passed 
from one to all, in which we all have sinned in common 
previously to the personal sins of each one as an indi- 
vidual." (Ep. 194, c. 6.) 

The statement of Odo, then, is clearly but an expansion 
of the doctrine of Augustine. Moreover, his idea that the 
sni of nature is in each individual less criminal ^han hia 


personal sin is a truly Augustinian idea ; for, tliougl* 
Augustine held that even those who died before committing; 
any other sin than that of nature would be punished, still 
he held that they would be punished more mildly than any 
others. This is owing, at least in part, to the fact that the 
immense guilt of the great common sin of nature is not 
charged to each individual, but only his due proportion of 
it. For Augustine is careful to inform us that " there 
comes not on individuals what Ihe lohole apostate creature 
has deserved ; and no individual endures so much as the 
whole mass deserves to suffer, but God has arranged all. 
in measure, Aveight and number, and suffers no one to 
endure any evil which he does not deserve." (Op. Imp. ii. 
87.) In still another form he expresses the same idea of a 
common sin of that all-embracing nature of man which was 
in Adam, and was afterward divided up and distributed into 
individuals, each bearing his share of the common guilt. 
" We were all in that one, since we were all that one who 
fell into sin by the woman who was made from him before 
sin. Not as yet was the form created and distributed to us 
singly in which we were individually to live ; but there 
was that seminal nature from which we were to be propa- 
gated. This, by reason of sin having been corrupted, and 
bound by the bond of death, and brought under just con- 
demnation, no man could be born of man in a different 
condition." (De Civ. Dei, xiii. 14.) 

Neander, regarding Anselm as coinciding with Odo in his 
exposition of the doctrine of Augustine, represents him as 
holding "that as entire human nature was only expressed 
and contained, as yet. in this first exemplar (Adam), entire 
humanity, therefore, became corrupt in him, and the cor- 
ruption passed from him to his posterity." Accordingly, 
Anselm says, "The wliole of human nature was so in 7\.dam 


tlmt no part of it was without him." Neander adds, ''He 
therefore distinguishes peccatum nattirale from peccatum 
personale. * * This connection of ideas is exhibited with 
remarkable distinctness in the work of Odo of Tournay." 

It is not uncommon at this day for writers, otherwise of 
great ability, to overlook the fact Avhich I have stated and 
now prominently repeat, that men may agree with Augus- 
tine in the general idea of a forfeiture and of inherent 
depravity before action in this world, who yet radically 
differ from him, and directly oppose him, in his solution 
of the mode of forfeiture. Nevertheless, I cannot but 
think that if any man desires to be in reality a profound 
thinker, he ought to discriminate the things that differ, and 
not collect together a mass of warring solutions of an im- 
possible problem, and call the self-repellent compound the 
Augustinian theology ; or to attempt to represent men as 
standing together on one side, who, though in general on 
one side, are yet, while there, engaged in mortal conflict 
with each other. 

I have stated at least six dissimilar and conflicting solu- 
tions of the alleged forfeiture of rights by the human race 
in Adam. If any man holds either of the five that are 
opposed to Augustine's, whether his view is true or false, he 
is certainly not on the ground of Augustine. Finally, all 
of these solutions cannot be true ; but all of them cnn be, 
and, in my judgment, ai^e false, as designed to explain and 
justify what is impossible and unjust. 



I HAVE given a general view of the import of the 
response of the human mind to Augustine's solution of the 
mode of forfeiture. It has proved so unsatisfactory that- 
the leaders of Old Sehool orthodoxy in this country have 
not only repudiated it, but even denied that Augustine ever 
held it. 

I have also taken a general view of the principles of the 
other solutions which have been devised to take its place, 
and seen that these, too, are unsatisfactory, and mutually 
destructive of each other. 

We are now prepared to hear without surprise that such 
a state of things has never conducted the Christian church 
to a haven of rest. Beneath the hard outside shell of these 
discussions there has ever been the profound abyss of deep 
emotion in view of the vast and eternal interests involved, 
and of the sacred principles of equity and honor, and their 
bearing on the character of God. 

Let us now attempt, for a few moments, to look into the 
interior of this vast world of conflicting thought and deep 

I have already said that the principles of honor and 
right towards new-created minds, set forth by Augustine, 
have been ever since fully recognized and affirmed. I have 


given the testimony of Turretin, Wesley, Watts, and the 
Princeton divines, to this effect. The Princeton divines 
also testify that the views of the Reformers were the same. 
I will add a statement from Pictet to illustrate these 
remarks. He says, " The corruption which we bring from 
the womb of our mothers is a very great evil, for it is the 
source of all sins. To permit, then, that this corruption 
should pass from their fathers to their children is to 'mjiict 
a punishment. But how is it that God should punish 
men, if they had not sinned, and if they were not guilty?" 
This is an avowal of the great principle that God is bound 
to give cdl neiu-created beings upright moral constitu- 
tions and tendencies^ if they have not jjreviously for- 
feited their rights. According to Pictet, this forfeiture 
was effected by Adam, whose sin God imputed to all his 
posterity, and considered as their sin, before they had 
existed or acted. Similar evidence is abundant : but, as no 
one denies the fact, so fiir as I know, it is needless to adduce 
more proof. 

All who thus hold to a forfeiture in Adam as a justifica- 
tion of God in bringing men into this world with depraved 
natures, and strong and controlling propensities to evil, are 
wont to set forth in the strongest terms the injustice of 
dealing thus with men on any other ground. Though they 
regard God as the immediate creator of souls in every gen- 
eration, yet, by the aid of the theory of imputation, they 
speak of all men as sinning in Adam. Then, by the aid of 
the imagination, they conceive of human nature as cor- 
rupted in Adam, and thus speak of the human race as not 
having such natures as God at first gave them, and then 
declare that it would be impious to regard God as orig- 
inally giving such natures to his creatures. For example, 
Wesley says : 



" Highly injurious, indeed, is this supposition to the God 
of our nature. Did He originally give us such a nature as 
this ? So, like that of a wild ass' colt ! so stupid, so 
stubborn, so intractable ; so prone to evil ; averse to good. 
Did His hands form and fashion us thus 7 No wiser or 
better than men at present are 7 If I believed this, that 
men were originally what they are now, — if you could once 
convince me of this, — I could not go so far as to be a Deist; 
I must either be a Manichee or an Atheist. I must either 
believe there was an evil God, or that there was no God 
at all." 

Dr. Watts says : '• And methinks, when I take a just sur- 
vey of this world, with all the inhabitants of it, I can look 
upon it no otherwise than as a grand and magnificent struc- 
ture in ruins, wherein lie millions of rebels against their 
Creator under condemnation to misery and death ; who are, 
at the same time, sick of a mortal distemper, and disordered 
in their minds even to distraction. Hence proceed those 
numberless follies and vices which are practised here ; and 
the righteous anger of an offended God, visible in ten thou- 
sand instances." 

Again, after a survey of the sinfulness and misery of man 
in all ages, he proceeds to say : 

^' If we put together all these scenes of vice and misery, 
it is evident that creatures lying in such deplorable circum- 
stances are not such as they came out of the hands of their 
Creator, who is wise, holy and good. His wisdom^ which 
is all harmony and order, would not suffer Him to frame a 
whole race of beings under such wild and innumerable dis- 
orders, moral as well as natural. His holiness would not 
permit Him to create beings with innate principles of 
iniquity ; nor his goodness^ to produce a whole order of 
creatures in such circumstances of pain, torment and death. 


'' Could the holy and blessed God originally design and 
frame a whole ^Yorld of intelligent creatures in such circum- 
stances, that every one of them coming into being according 
to the laws of nature, in a long succession of ages, in 
different climates, of different constitutions and tempers, 
and in ten thousand thousand different stations and condi- 
tions of life, — that every one of them should break the laws 
of reason, and more or less defile themselves with sin? 
That every one should offend his Maker, — every one become 
guilty in his sight? Everyone expose himself to God's 
displeasure, to pain and misery and mortality, without one 
single exception ? If men were such creatures as God at 
first made them, w^ould not one man, among so many mil- 
lions, have made a right use of his reason and conscience, 
and so have avoided sin and death ? Would this have been 
the universal consequent of their original constitution, as 
fcmed by the hand of a wise, holy, merciful God ? What 
can be more absurd to imagine than this ? Surely, God 
made man upright and happy : nor could all these mischiefs 
liave come directly from our Creator's hand." 

From what has been said, it is apparent that in the 
formation of the various theories of forfeiture which have 
been considered, men have been actuated by the noblest 
impulses of their nature ; they have desired to find a basis 
on which they might found a reconciliation of God's actual 
treatment of the human race with the demands of the 
highest principles of honor and right towards new-created 

As we have said, if the forfeiture alleged could be made 
out by any of their schemes, it would be a relief; but, as it 
cannot, it is no relief. Of this fact some even of the most 
eminent of the advocates of such theories seem to have 
had uncomfortable surmises. Augustine, as we have seen. 


could liscover no reason to rest in the doctrine of a for- 
feiture, except on the assumption that all human soula 
came from the soul of Adam; but this theory Jerome 
rejected, and was followed by the most of the schoolmen. 
These same schoolmen, however, originated another theory 
of forfeiture, — that of federal headship, — of which new 
theory a desire to escape the objections of Augustine was 
clearly the moving cause. But this theory also has failed 
to give rest even to its most decided advocates. 

Dr. Watts, for example, though an earnest and zealous 
defender of it against Dr. J. Taylor, says : '' I am not fond 
of it. No. I would gladly renounce it because of some 
great difficulties attending it." The reason for not re- 
nouncing it which he assigns is, that, in his view, there are 
greater difficulties attending every other scheme. He held 
to the common theory that souls are newly created, and one 
of his chief difficulties lay in reconciling it with the good- 
ness and justice of God that new-created souls should be 
placed in bodies in and by which they were sure to be 
morally corrupted in consequence of the sin of Adam. 
After laboring for some pages to effect such a reconcilia- 
tion, he does not seem to be at all confident that he has 
succeeded ; nay, he betrays an inward apprehension that he 
has not, for he says : 

"I am doubtful whether this solution sets the matter in 
such a sufficient light as to take away all remaining scruples 
from a curious and inquisitive mind. I confess it is the 
most probable hypothesis I can think of, and shall be glad 
to see this perplexing inquiry more happily answered. But, 
if the case itself be matter of fact, that souls are defiled 
and exposed to pain by being united to human bodies so 
vitiated, we are sure it must be just and equitable, because 
God has thus ordered it, though we should not find out a 


happier solution of the difficulties that attend it in this dark 
and imperfect state." 

His difficulties were the same which were felt by Augus- 
tine of old, and which have never as yet been removed. He 
could not but feel that new-created minds, who had nothing 
to do with Adam's sin, since they did not exist when he 
sinned, were hardly dealt with in being treated as if they 
had forfeited all their rights as new-created minds by that 
act. This is not to be wondered at. It is a difficulty so 
obvious that the wonder is that any man can overlook it, 
or, if he does not, can think that he has removed it. This 
difficulty lies on the very face of the solution of the problem 
attempted by Turretin. (L. 9, Q. 12, § 10.) He holds, 
with Jerome and the church generally, that God creates 
souls to animate bodies, but creates them devoid of orig- 
inal righteousness, ''of which man had rendered himself 
unworthy in Adam. For God is under no obhgation to 
create minds with original righteousness ; nay, he may 
most justly deprive them of such a gift, as a punishment of 
the sin of Adam." Here, then, we are told that it is most 
just for God to punish a new-created soul, in the very act 
of its creation, for an act which took place thousands of 
years before its creation, — that is, to punish it by creating 
it without original righteousness, — although, without this, 
its moral development is certainly corrupt and ruinous, so 
that this deprivation is, in the words of Prof Hodge, ' ' of 
all evils the essence and sum." He proceeds to add ''that 
this destitution is blamable on the part of man, because it 
is a destitution of the righteousness that ought to be in 
him ; but as it respects God it is not blamable, since it is 
an act of vindictive justice in punishing the fost sin." 
That is, a new-created mind is punished for a sin which 
it did not commit, ^)j being created devoid of righteousness^ 


and yet is criminal for not having that righteousness tho 
possession of which did not depend upon itself at all, but 
solely on the creative act of God. Moreover, God is just 
in all this, because he is thus punishing Adam's sin, which 
the new-created mind did not commit. To complete the 
result, a mind thus defectively created is then put into a 
body such that the sympathy of the two inevitably calls into 
action and develops its depravity. If, now, the moral sense 
recoils from this as anything but a satisfe^ctory vindication 
of God's conduct towards the new-created souls of the 
human race, the fault lies more in the theory from which it 
springs than in Turretin. He calls it " a most obscure 
question;" and, to use the words of Dr. Watts, resorted 
to 'Hhe most probable hypothesis he could think of" 

But, as Dr. -Watts suggested a doubt whether his 
hypothesis "set the matter in a sufficient light to take 
away all remaining scruples from a curious and inquis- 
itive mind," so, in fact, it has happened with the hypoth- 
esis of Turretin, and all others aiming at the same end. 
The simple fact is, that the problem of defending such a 
forfeiture is insoluble, except on the ground of a real pre- 
existence. On that ground it can be defended in perfect 
accordance with the principles of honor and right, and on, 
no other. 

It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that in all ages 
the theory of a forfeiture of rights in Adam has been 
unsatisfactory to multitudes, who concur with the great 
mass of Christian divines in rejecting preexistence. 

Nor is it wonderful that finally Haldane should try to 
find rest by refusing to think at all, and, on the authority 
of God, as he assumed, declaring that Adam's sin is our 
sin as really and as truly as it was his, and that this is the 
end of all dispute. 


But, wlien things come to such a pass, it becomes neces 
sary to be quite sure that God has, in fact, said so, before 
we rest in the doctrine of Mr. Haldane ; and this raises a 
question of interpretation, which neither he nor any one 
else can evade. Mr. Haldane, then, as well as the rest, has 
not been able to conduct even the most pious man to a 
haven of rest. 

Finally, when we consider that this theory of a forfeiture 
in Adam is made the basis of the redemption of the church, 
and that to justify it is essential to any sense of the mercy 
of God, and that yet to Pascal it appeared " impossible and 
unjust," and to Calvin "the most remote of all things from 
common sense," and to Prof. Hodge a "profound and awful 
mystery," and that Dr. Woods is "perplexed and con- 
founded" by it, and that the advocates of it mutually 
neutralize each other by their contradictory solutions, we 
ought not to be surprised that in successive ages men have 
been found who have sought relief by the entire rejection 
of the theory itself. And yet the results of this rejection 
have not been such as to furnish the desired relief It is 
my next object to consider these results. 



But, when the idea of a forfeiture before birth is rejected 
on such grounds as have been stated, then but two general 
courses remain, which we shall consider in order. The first 
is to declare that men are born such and in such circum- 
stances as the principles of honor and right demand ; and, 
of course, we land at once and directly in Pelagianism as 
implied in this general statement, — that all men are as well 
^off, both as to constitution and powers, as Adam was before 
his sin. For God, in making Adam, of course gave him all 
that was due to a new-created mind, and he gives the same 
to all men as fast as he creates them. This at once cuts 
up by the roots all ideas of a fall in Adam ; or, indeed, in 
any other way. It regards all men as well created by God, 
and by nature in full possession of all the powers w^hich, 
as a practical matter, are needed perfectly to obey him. 

Let no one be surprised at this statement ; for, so long 
as the opposite view of a fall is defended and justified only 
on the ground of a forfeiture in Adam, it is plain that so 
long as the principles of honor and right — as the defenders 
of that theory have ever promulgated and maintained 
them — are regarded as true, there is no logical middle 
ground between a just forfeiture of rights and Pelagianism. 
We say this on the assumption that it is not for a moment 


to be supposed that God ever has disregarded, or ever will 
disregard, in his dealings with new-created minds, their 
just claims according to the laws of honor and right. What 
those claims are we have seen. If they have not forfeited 
them, then, of course, they have them, and are made, as 
they ought to be, with well-ordered powers, free from sin, 
and in the image of God. 

This general course of reasoning we have already illus- 
trated, and the experience to which it gives rise in the case 
of Dr. Channing. Substantially the same course of rea- 
soning was pursued by Pelagius and his followers in the 
fifth century, by the *Socinians in the sixteenth, and by Dr. 
John Taylor and his followers in the eighteenth century. 
It is true that Pelagius did not see the logical relations of 
his views to the rest of the system. He still retained and 
defended the doctrine of the Trinity, and of the incarnation 
and atonement of Christ ; and, in a ' certain sense, of the 
influences of the Spirit. But, as Dr. Channing well 
remarked, these doctrines find a consistent development 
only in a system based on the doctrine of original deprav- 
ity. The power of the church system prevented this logical 
development in the days of Pelagius. But, soon after the 
opening of the E-eformation, the power of that system was 
so far broken, and consistent and free thought had so much 
more scope, that the whole system was so modified as better 
to accord with the fundamental principles of the Pelagian 
theory of human nature. The same was true in the case 
of Dr. John Taylor. The doctrine of the Trinity was 
dropped in each case. Yet, at first, the whole system was 
not reduced to its natural and consistent level. Socinus 
still retained the worship of Christ, and persecuted Davides 
for dissenting from his views. Dr. J. Taylor approximated 
as near to the Trinity as the Arianism of Dr. S. Clarke 


would allow. He also did not remove from liis doctrine 
all the language which belonged to the orthodox doctrine of 
the atonement. It was not until the close of the last and 
the beginning of the present century that the principles of 
the Pelagian theory were fully and consistently developed 
in modern Unitarianism. 

No one, we think, who holds to the principles of honor 
and right, and denies a forfeiture of rights in Adam, or 
by preexistence, ought to censure this ultimate development 
of the principles of Pelagianism as illogical or inconsistent. 
The principles of honor and right to which they have ever 
appealed have never, so far as we know, been formally denied 
by any orthodox body. Indeed, the most orthodox have 
had the highest standard. They have been simply evaded 
by the plea of a forfeiture in Adam. To this the Pela- 
gians and others have objected that it is irrational, unscrip- 
tural, at war with the intuitive perceptions of the human 
mind, and unjust. 

If so, then the logical development of the system accord- 
ing to the highest orthodox principles of honor and right 
is, that men are created by God with well constituted and 
holy minds, tending powerfully to all that is good. They 
are not morally weak or impotent. They do not come 
under the delusive and controlling power of evil spirits. 
Indeed, there are no evil spirits. Moreover, the predomi- 
nant and natural developments of men, in all ages, are 
holy and good. There is no predominating tendency to 
selfishness, dishonesty, violence, wrong, war, conquest and 
oppression. There is no prevailing tendency to idolatry, 
lust, sensualism and pollution. All men, as a universal 
fact, develop a benevolent and holy character, loving God 
supremely and their neighbors as themselves, and mani- 


festing it in all tlie organizations of society, and in all the 
business and duties of life. 

These results, however, are so much at war with facts, 
that they react upon the principles from which they flow. 
The result commonly is that lower views are adopted 
of what is possible in new-created minds. Some theory 
of free agency is adopted which excludes the idea alike of 
original sin and original righteousness. Men are regarded 
as free agents, beginning life ignorant and inexperienced, 
exposed to temptation, with powerful appetites, passions 
and propensities, and yet able by free choice to form a 
holy character. If they do this, they are holy from the 
beginning, and are saved by obedience to the law of God. 
That this could be done, and had been done, was taught by 
the Pelasiians. Hence their doctrine that men can be saved 
by the law as well as by the gospel ; and that some, in fact, 
have lived perfectly holy lives. If, on the other hand, men 
fall into sinful habits. — as they admitted to be the case 
to a lamentable degree, — they needed, not regeneration 
by special and supernatural grace, but repentance and 
reformation, in view of the motives of the law and of the 
gospel. Moreover, the proper sphere of the grace of God 
is found in the presentation of these motives. The gospel 
exceeds the law simply as a more powerful presentation of 

It appears, then, that the highest views of the principles 
of honor and right are modified and reduced, because, 
according to them, men would be better than even Pela- 
gians, in view of facts, can maintain them to be. For, look- 
ing at the history of this world, men have, in fact, sinned 
with so much power, and energy, and perseverance, that it 
does not at all look rational to suppose that they are born 
in the image of God, understanding it to denote a power- 


ful bias to good, and real holiness. They, therefore, resort 
to a theory of mere free will, not implying either sin or 
holiness, but a power to practise either. Starting from 
this point, they deduce varieties of character from the use 
made by men of their free will. This is, certainly, the 
best view that facts will allow them to take of man. To 
assert that he is born with original righteousness and a 
strong bias and impulse towards holiness, would be too 
palpably at war with facts. 

Of course, these views react upon their ideas of the 
original condition and character of Adam. Denying that 
men are now in a fallen state, of course they cannot admit 
of any marked contrast between them and Adam. Hence 
they regard all the glowing statements which we have set 
forth as to the original perfection of his constitution and 
powers, and the energy of his holiness, as irrational exag- 
gerations. Adam, though created full-grown, was only an 
inexperienced free agent, who, like all others, needed to 
form a character by the exercise of his free will, either in 
sinning or in obeying God. 

A tendency to depreciate the original powers and per- 
fection of Adam is, therefore, the natural and necessary 
result of any theory which, denying preexistence, repre- 
sents the present condition of man as his natural state, and 
not a fallen condition. The more Adam is exalted, the 
greater is the evidence of a fall from his state to the present 
condition of man. The more he is depressed, the less is 
the evidence of such a fall. Hence, the final result is, that 
our ideas of free agency itself, and of the possible capaci- 
ties of created minds, are seriously lowered. The operation 
of such a view — assuming the facts of human depravity 
really to be as I have stated them — is as if a diseased 
man, who had lived only in a hospital, among diseased 


attendants and patients, should form his ideas of the normal 
state of the powers of the body, and of good health, from 
such specimens ; and should justify God in so making them, 
bj saying that they were as well made and organized as 
could reasonably be expected, in view of the fact that all 
created things are necessarily limited and imperfect. 

We have already remarked that there has been in all 
ages a large body of Christians whose deep experimental 
knowledge of their own sinfulness, and of the need of a 
thorough supernatural regeneration, have led them earnestly 
and decidedly to reject these views, and to retain the theory 
of a forfeiture in Adam, notwithstanding its inconsistency 
with the first principles of reason and of morals. Of the 
facts for which that theory proposed to account they were 
certain. In words, at least, that theory did account for 
them ; and it appeared to be scriptural. Therefore they 
adopted it. The arguments of the Pelagians against the 
alleged forfeiture of rio-hts were never answered, and never 
can be. Yet still the power of Christian consciousness 
was so great that it trod them down, for the sake of a theory 
w^hich had at least this merit, that it seemed to explain the 
great facts of human depravity and ruin. The same has 
been true in every subsequent conflict. In a large body of 
Christians, Christian consciousness has prevailed. 

In accordance with these views, Neander has w^ell re- 
marked, concerning the condemnation of Pelagianism in the 
days of Augustine, that, although Pelagianism succumbed to 
an outward force of the civil power, yet there never was a 
subsequent and violent reaction, since "that doctrine con- 
quered which had on its side the voice of the universal 
Christian consciousness, and which found a ready point of 
union in the whole life and experience of the church, as 

838 CONi'LICT 01' A^k'^. 

expressed in its prayers and in all its liturgical forms. ^' 
(II. 599.) 

And yet the principles for wliicli the Pelagians contended 
were of the highest and noblest kind. They contended, as 
did Dr. Channing, for the honor of God. Neander says of 
Julian of Eclanum, ' ' He maintained that the highest object 
of the Christian faith itself, the doctrine concerning God^ 
was essentially compromised ; " for the Pelagians and their 
opponents did not agree even in their doctrine concerning 
God. The God of their opponents "was not the God of the 
gospel." Accordingly, Julian says to Augustine, " The 
children, you say, do not bear the blame of their own, but 
of another's sins. What sort of sin can that be ? What an 
unfeeling wretch, cruel, forgetful of God and of righteous- 
ness, an inhuman barbarian, is he who would make such 
innocent creatures as little children bear the consequences 
of transgressions which they never committed, and never 
could commit 1 God, you answer. What god '? For there 
are gods many, and lords many ; but we worship but one 
God, and one Lord Jesus Christ. What God dost thou 
make the malefactor ? Here, most holy priest, and most 
learned orator, thou fabricatest something more mournful 
and frightful than the brimstone in the valley of Amsanctus. 
God himself, say ^^ou, who commendeth his love towards us, 
who even spared not his own Son, but hath given him up for 
us all, he so determines, — he is himself the persecutor of 
those that are born. He himself consigns to eternal fire, 
for an evil will, the children who, as he knows, can havi6 
neither a good nor an evil will." Dr. Channing, contend* 
ing for the same great interests, expressed himself with less 
excited vehemence and personal severity, and therefore in 
better taste. But his conceptions of the discord of the facts 
alleged with the character of God were no less keen than 


those of Julian. Hence he said, " Thej take from us our 
Father in heaven, and substitute a stern and unjust Lord. 
Our filial love and reverence rise up against them. We 
saj, Touch anything but the perfections of God. Cast na 
stain on that spotless purity and loveliness. We can en- 
dure any errors but those which subvert or unsettle, the 
conviction of God's paternal goodness. Urge not upon us 
a system which makes existence a curse, and wraps the 
universe in gloom." 

It was also in view of the theory of the imputation of 
Adam's sin that Whelpley, in the name of New England 
divinity, said : " The idea that all the numerous millions of 
Adam's posterity deserve the ineffable and endless torments 
of hell, for a single act of his, before any one of them 
existed, is repugnant to that reason that God has given 
us, is subversive of all possible conceptions of justice. I 
hesitate not to say that no scheme of religion ever prop- 
agated amongst men contains a more monstrous, a more 
horrible tenet. The atrocity of this doctrine is beyond 
comparison. The visions of the Koran, the fictions of the 
Sadder, the fables of the Zendavesta, all give place to this : 
Rabbinical legends, Brahminical vagaries, all vanish before 
it." It were easy to produce similar utterances from 
Socinus and John Taylor and their followers ; for, in fact, 
the argument has been one and the same, from age to age. 
It has ever been a bold, earnest and eloquent protest, in 
the name of the immortal principles of honor and right, 
against the imputation to the God of the universe of such 
acts as would conflict with justice, fatally obscure his glory, 
and fill the universe itself with mournmg and gloom. 



"We now come to consider the second general course that 
can be taken by those who reject the idea of a forfeiture in 
Adam, and do not hold to preexistence. They can still in 
theory retain, in all their integrity and fulness, the facts 
of human depravity, and resolve them into the sovereign 
dispensations of God. 

This development is an important part of New England 
Theology, and seems to have sprung out of the pressure of 
the arguments used by Dr. John Taylor in his celebrated 
work against original sin. In his day, the whole Calvin- 
istic world held to the theory of a forfeiture in Adam, in 
some one of the forms which have been set forth. Of 
course, the heaviest artillery of Dr. Taylor was brought to 
bear against it. And yet his arguments were not and 
could not be novel. Pelagius, Julian, Celestius, Socinus 
and many others, had employed them before him, as w^e 
have shown. But he bore with especial force upon the 
great point, that it was inconsistent with all just concep- 
tions of personal identity and of justice to consider and treat 
the sin of Adam as that of his posterity. He says : 

"How mankind, who were perfectly innocent of Adam's 
gin, could, for that sin and upon no other account, be justly 


brouglit under God's displeasure and curse, we cannot 
understand. But, on the contrary, we do understand, 
and bj our faculties must necessarily judge, accoraing to 
all rules of equity, it is unjust. And therefore, unless 
our understanding, or perception of truth, be false, — that is, 
unless we do not understand what we do understand, or 
understand that to be true which other minds understand to 
be false, — it must he unjust.''^ 

Again, ^' That any man, without my knowledge or con- 
sent, should so represent me that when he is guilty I am 
to be reputed guilty, and when he transgresses I shall be 
accountable and punishable for his transgression, and 
thereby subjected to the wrath and curse of God; nay, 
further, that his wickedness shall give me a sinful nature, 
and all this before I am born, and consequently while I 
am in no capacity of knowing, helping or hindering, what he 
doth ; — surely any one, who dares use his understanding, 
must clearly see this is unreasonable, and altogether incon- 
sistent with the truth and goodness of God. We may call 
it a righteous constitution, but in the nature of things it is 
absolutely impossible we should 'prove it to be so." (S. 

"Understanding cannot be various, but must be the 
same in all beings, so far as they do understand. And 
therefore, if we understand that it is imjust that the 
innocent should be under displeasure or a curse (and we see 
it very clearly, as clearly as we see that that which is, is, 
or that U'hich is not, is ?wt), then God understands it to be 
so too." (p. 151.) 

This is simply an assertion that the intuitive perceptions 
of truth and right, given by God to us in the structure of 
our minds, must accord with the renlity of things, and the 
perceptions of all minds, including that of God himself. 

342 CONFLICT OF A(;]':s. 

At tlie close of his last statement, he says, very much m 
the spirit of Julian of Eclanum, " 2\nd pray consider 
seriously what a God he must be who can be displeased 
with and curse his innocent creatures, even before they have 
a being." (p. 151.) 

The younger Edwards informs us that "in their day 
Drs. Watts and Doddridge were accounted leaders of the 
Calvinists." They, in this great emergency, put forth 
their energies to defend the received doctrine of a forfeiture 
in Adam. The celebrated John Wesley united his energies 
with theirs in the defence of this common ground. He says to 
Dr. Taylor : " In your second part you profess to ' examine 
the principal passages of scripture which divines have ap- 
plied in support of the doctrine of original sin ; particularly 
those cited by the Assembly of Divines in their Larger 
Catechism.^ To this I never subscribed; but I think it, in 
the main, an excellent composition, which I shall therefore 
cheerfully endeavor to defend, so far as I conceive it is 
grounded on clear scripture." (p. 132, Doc. of Orig. Sin.) 
He also quotes a large portion of the work of Watts on the 
same subject. 

Edwards had seen and studied the work of Watts before 
he wrote ; for he makes strictures on some of its positions. 
Nor did he deem it a sufficient defence, — otherwise he would 
not have written his own. But, in his reply to the argu- 
ments of Taylor against the current theory of a forfeiture 
in Adam, he was so hard driven by the argument from the 
diversity of personal identity, the amount of which he thus 
states, that "Adam and his posterity are not one, but 
entirely distinct agents," that he took the ground that 
there is no such thing as identity or oneness in created 
objects existing in successive moments, "but what depends 
on the arbitrary constitution of the Creator," — (p. 224, vol. 


l). Hence it all ^'depends on God's sovereign coiistitu- 
tion.^' This he proves bj the consideration that preserva- 
tion or upholding of objects, or persons, is a mere series of 
new momentarv separate creations, which are united as the 
same identical existence;, not by the nature of things, but by 
God's will. And so the objection that Adam and his pos- 
terity are not and cannot be one and the same agent, or 
justly be treated as such, '' is built on a false hypothesis; 
for it appears that a divine constitution is what makes 
truth in affairs of this nature." (The italics are as Ed- 
wards left them.) Thus Edwards, in away unthought of by 
Augustine, or Watts, or Turretin, made out and defended 
his theory of a forfeiture in Adam, by resolving personal 
identity itself into an arbitrary sovereign constitution of 
God, thus opening the way to make Adam and his posterity 
all one person by such a constitution. In order to complete 
his explanation, Edwards ought still further to have shown 
how, after God had thus made Adam and his posterity as 
really and truly one and the same person as a man is dur- 
ing the different portions of his life, it did not follow that 
all the sins of Adam, and, indeed, of all other men, are our 
sins. There is no way to avoid this consequence but to 
limit the operation of " the arbitrary constitution of the Cre- 
ator" to only one of Adam's sins, and to exclude from its 
operation all the sins of other men. This certainly would 
merit in the highest degree the name of an arbitrary con- 
stitution. It only the more clearly shows to what straits 
Edwards was reduced in attempting to defend the doctrine of 
a forfeiture in Adam against the divinely-given and intuitive 
convictions of the human mind on the subject of personal 
identity. This theory of Edwards is at war with the theory 
of Prof Shcdd, yet he eulogizes this reasoning of Edwards a9 
profound and truf. Nevcrtholess, it appeals to have been 


too much for Hopkins to receive. He seems to have 
thought that here Edwards had strained his metaphysical 
bow until it broke. Nor was he ignorant of what the 
European divines had said to defend the theory of a for- 
feiture in Adam. He had also carefully studied John, Tay- 
lor, and had, no doubt, examined the argument of Dr. Watts 
in reply to him ; and, on the whole, he concluded that the 
theory of a forfeiture was not defensible on any ground, and 
he abandoned it, and threw himself simply upon divine 

What, then, is the real significance of this position 7 It 
is, in brief, this, — although men did not sin in Adam, and 
thus forfeit their claims as new-created beings, yet God, in 
fact, treats them as if they had. There was no forfeiture, 
and yet God treats men as if there had been. He does not 
enter into communion with them, as they come into exist- 
ence. He does not bestow upon them a divine influence 
"which secures the right development of their moral char- 
acters. On the other hand, he has in some way, by a 
divine constitution of things, established such a connection 
between the sin of Adam and his posterity that it will 
infallibly secure a wrong development of character in them, 
amounting to total depravity and utter ruin. Moreover, 
this depravity is so strong that no power short of the 
almighty energy of the Holy Spirit can overcome it. 

This theory, as commonly stated, involves, first, a denial 
of the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin, and of a 
forfeiture of rights, and an exposure to punishment by it ; 
and, secondly, the existence of a fixed and infallible connec- 
tion between Adam's sin and the depravity of his posterity. 
Thus, Dr. Hopkins states his views as follows : 

"It is not to be supposed that the offence of Adam is 
imputed to them to their condemnation, while they are con- 


sidered as in themselves in their own "persons innocent ; 
or that they are guilty of the sin of their first father, ante- 
cedently to their own personal sinfulness." " It is care- 
fully to be observed that they are not constituted sinners 
by his disobedience as a punishment, or the penalty of the 
law coming upon them for his sin.*' (Vol. I. 218.) 

Again, ' ' All that is asserted as Avhat the Scripture 
teaches on this head is, that, by a divine constitntion^ there 
is a certain connection between the first sin of Adam and 
the sinfulness of his posterity ; so that, as he sinned and fell 
under condemnation, they, in consequence of this, became 
sinful and condemned." (Ibid.) 

This was, in the circumstances, a bold step for a Calvin- 
ist. But the younger Edwards, Dwight, Emmons, and 
other leading New England divines, followed in his steps. 
Bellamy, it is true, still defended the ancient view ; but it 
has long since ceased to be any proper part of New England 
theology as distinguished from old Calvinism. 

The younger Edwards, in his views of the improvements 
in theology eifected either by his father or by his followers, 
says, on this point, "The common doctrine has been that 
Adam's posterity, unless saved by Christ, are damned (con- 
demned) on account of Adam's sin ; and that this is just, 
because his sin is imputed or transferred to them. By 
imputation, his sin becomes their sin. When the justice of 
such a transfer is demanded, it is said that the constitution 
which God has established makes the transfer just. To 
this it may be replied, that in the same way it may be 
proved just to damn (condemn) a man without any sin at 
all, either personal or imputed. We need only resolve it 
into a sovereign constitution of God. From this difficulty 
the folloivers of jMr. Edwards relieve themselves, by hold- 
inor that, tliouoih Adam was so constituted the federal head 


of his posterity that in consequence of his sin they all sin 
or become sinners, yet they are damned (condemned) on 
account of their own ^personal sin merely, and not on 
account of Adani's sin, as though they were individually 
guilty of his identical transgression." (Vol. i. 487.) 

Dr. Dwight simply says, " The corruption of mankind 
exists in consequence of the apostasy of Adam." " I do 
not intend that the posterity of Adam are guilty of his 
transgression." " Neither do I intend that the descendants 
of Adam are punished for his transgression." " By means 
of the offence or transgression of Adam, the judgment or 
sentence of God came upon all men unto condemnation ; 
because, and solely because, all men, in that state of things 
which was constituted in consequence of the transgression 
of Adam, become sinners." 

Of the mode in which this effect results, he says, " I am 
unable to explain this part of the subject. Many attempts 
have been made to explain it ; but I freely confess myself to 
have seen none which was satisfactory to me ; or which 
did not leave the difficulties as great, and, for aught I know, 
as numerous, as they were before." 

Emmons no less distinctly denies sinning in Adam and 
imputation in every fonn. In the train of these the 
majority of the divines of New England have followed, atj 
well as a large party in other parts of the United States. 

They differ, indeed, in their mode of accounting for the 
universal sinfulness which results from the fall of Adam : 
8ome, as we have seen, resolving it into no natural ca^uses, 
but into a stated mode of divine efficiency, called a divine 
constitution ; others resolving it into the natural operation 
of the laws of procreation and descent, transmitting a dete- 
riorated constitution and sinful propensities. 

But, meantime, the question naturally arises, How are 


these things consistent with the demands of the great laws 
of honor and right in reference to new-created minds ? 
These hiAv^s have been stated, and we see that they have been 
held for ages, as the intuitive moral perceptions of the mind. 
Are ihej not i=;o ? If they are, — if nevf-created minds have 
rights, and there iias been no forfeiture of them. — then how 
can God be justified in the course alleged? It is not 
enough to resort to the idea of sovereignty. God, as a sov- 
ereign, has no authority to disregard the original rights of 
bis creatures. Does any one resort to the law of genera- 
tion '? This is a mere ordinance of God. The question stili 
ai^ises, How is he to be defended in establishing and main- 
taining it? On this point, Dr. Watts says, "This natural 
propagation of sinful inclinations from a common parent, 
by a law of creation, seems difficult to be reconciled Avith the 
goodness and justice of God (that is, without a previous 
forfeiture). It seems exceeding hard to suppose that such 
a righteous and holy God, the Creator, who is also a being 
of such infinite goodness, should, by a poAverful law and 
order of creation, w^hich is now called nature, appoint young, 
intelligent creatures to come into being in such unhappy 
and degenerate circumstances, liable to such intense pains 
and miseries, and under such powerful tendencies and pro- 
pensities to evil, by the mere law of propagation, as should 
almost unavoidably expose them to ten thousand actual sins, 
and all this before they have any personal sin or guilt to 
deserve it." In a note he adds : 

"If it could be well made out that the whole race of 
mankind are partakers of sinful inclinations, and evil pas- 
sions, and biases to vice, and also are exposed to many 
sharp actual sufferings and to death, merely and only by 
the original divine law of propagation from their parents 
who had sinned ; and, if the justice and goodness of God 


could be vindicated in making and maintaining such a 
dreadful law or order of propagation through six thou- 
sand years, we have no need of further inquiries, but might 
here be at rest. But, if the scheme be so injurious to the 
goodness and equity of God as it seems to be, then we are 
constrained to seek a little further for a satisfactory account 
of this universal degeneracy and misery of mankind." 

These, as we have seen, are also the views of the Prince- 
ton divines ; and, indeed, of all who hold the old system of 
a forfeiture in Adam. With them the Unitarians coincide. 
Nor is any relief found by resolving the results in question 
into a stated mode of divine efficiency, instead of a law or 
order of propagation. Indeed, this view seems less to accord 
with the principles of honor and right than any other which 
has yet been considered. 

We come, then, once more to the final result, that every 
theory of forfeiture before birth that denies pretxistence 
has failed, and must fail, to give permanent rest to good 
men. Moreover, the results of entirely rejecting the theory 
of a forfeiture before birth are equally unsatisfactory, and 
are often in the highest degree injurious. We have also 
seen that this fact is owing to the existence of a real conflict 
between the actual facts of this system, and the principles 
of honor and right, on the assumption that this is our first 
state of existence. We have also seen that, by assuming 
the theory of a real pre existence, this conflict can be 
entirely removed, and all the powers of the mind find rest. 
It follows that the existing system has thus far acted as if 
it had been deranged by a falsehood. It remains to be 
tried Avhether the system that I propose will not act as if 
it had been properly readjusted by the truth. Certainly, 
the first view has had a fair trial. Is it not time, at least, 
to give tlie other a fiir opportunity to develop its genuine 
results ? 



We have considered the Augustinian doctrine of a for- 
feiture in Adam of the rights of new-created minds by the 
whole human race, and of the conflict existing between it 
and the principles of equity and honor. We have also set 
forth the results of an entire rejection of the doctrine of 
such a forfeiture in any way, and have seen that there is 
no available relief to be found in this course. 

It remains that I consider some other ineffectual efforts to 
find relief by those who hold the common doctrine of for- 
feiture. It will be remembered that the doctrine, as held 
by Augustine, exalted the original rights of new-created 
minds to a very high point, and then represented the effects 
of the forfeiture through Adam as very disastrous. In 
consequence of it, man inherits a nature so deranged and 
sinful that he has lost free will and the power of doing good 
works, or of saving himself by repentance and faith. Of 
course, as man has not the power to accept the offers of 
mercy, God could not foresee that any would accept of them, 
nor predestinate them to life on that ground. Hence the 
doctrines of absolute and unconditional predestination, of 
passive regeneration, and of irresistible grace. 

As was to be expected, this view was early assailed by 
the Semipclagians, under Cassian, as at war with the char- 
acter of God, and a return to the exploded errors of fatalism 


Nevertheless, in the case of a large portion of Christians in 
every age, this assault has not led to a rejection of the doc- 
trine of a forfeiture in Adam, but to a modification and soft- 
ening of the Augustinian form of that doctrine. This haa 
been attempted in two ways : — the first, by giving a milder 
view of the effects of the forfeiture itself ; the second, by 
introducing the idea of a gracious ability restored by Christ 
to all the race, after their original ability had been entirely 
destroyed by the fall. By the first of these methods, the 
Roman Catholic church, though at first they condemned the 
Semipelagians, at last, revolting from Luther, and under 
the guidance of the Jesuits, decided, in the Council of 
Trent, in direct opposition to Augustine, that free will was 
not wholly extinguished by the fall, although they conceded 
that it was debilitated and depressed. (Decree on Justifi- 
cation, chap. I.) They also decided that man, in the work 
of moral renovation, is not passive, and that grace is not 
irresistible ; but that man, when acted on by God, freely 
cooperates with the divine influence, and has at all times 
the power to resist it. (Chap, v.) The fifth and sixth- 
anathemas, which follow the Decree on Justification, are 
also directed against all who shall deny these positions. At 
the same time, they continue to announce the doctrine of 
the forfeiture in Adam, in the most decided terms. They 
assert that "infants derive from Adam that " original guilt 
which must be expiated in the laver of regeneration, in 
order to obtain eternal life," and that "Adam lost the 
purity and righteousness which he received from God, not 
for himself only, but also for us." (Decree on Original 
Sin, II. and iv.) In view of these decisions, the Catechism 
of the Council of Trent says, " The pastor, therefore, w^ill 
not omit to remind the faithful that the guilt and punish- 
ment of original sin were not confined to Adam, but justly 


descended from him, as from their source and cause, to all 
posterity." Hence, it is added, "a sentence of condemna- 
tion was pronounced against the hnman race immediately 
after the fall of Adam." (p. 37, 38, Baltimore edition.) 
In taking their ground as to free will, the Romish church 
coincided with the Semipelagians, who, in opposition to 
Augustine, held that there still remained in man, after the 
fall, some power to perform good works, and to cooperate 
with God in effecting their own salvation. The Semipela- 
gians also still farther maintained that God's decree of 
election and predestination was based upon a foresight of 
the use which men would make of this power. This form 
of the doctrine of predestination, however, has never been 
formally established within the Romish church, but has 
been, from age to age, the subject of fierce controversies. 
It was held by the followers of Duns Scotus, Molina, and 
others. The Augustinian doctrine on this point, however, 
has always had its earnest defenders in that church. 
Although Wiggers regards Semipelagianism as beings the 
predominant system in the middle age to the time of Luther, 
yet it was so rather in its fundamental principles as to free 
will and power, than in an ultimate development of them in 
the form of a conditional predestination. 

The second mode of modifying the Augustinian doctrine is 
that of Armlnius, in which he is followed by Wesley, Wat- 
son, and other leading divines of the Methodist denomina- 
tion. By these divines the same view ifj given of the 
effects of the forfeiture in Adam as was given by Augustine 
and the Reformers. They hold to the entire destruction of 
free will in all men by the fill. ArminiuSj as quoted by 
Watson, says " that the will of man, with respect to true 
good, is not only wounded, bruised, inferior, crooked and 
attenuated, but it is, likewise, captivated^ destroyed and 


lost; and has no powers whatever, except such as are 
excited by grace." (Watson's Theol. Inst. vol. ii. p. 46.) 
Watson also says that on this point the true Arminians 
agree with the Augsburgh Confession, the French Calvin- 
istic churches, the Calvinistic church of Scotland, and 
Calvin himself (p. 47.) He adds, that in the doctrine 
of the corruption of our common nature, and man's natural 
incapacity to do good, the Arminians and Calvinists so well 
agree, " that it is an entire delusion to represent this doc- 
trine, as is often done, as exclusively Calvinistic." (p. 48.) 
Hence Wesley joined with Watts, against Dr. J. Taylor, in 
its defence, as we have seen. As to the extent of the for- 
feiture in Adam, Watson says that "the death threatened 
as the penalty of Adam's transgression included corporeal, 
moral or spiritual and eternal death, and that the sentence 
included the whole of his posterity," (p. 61.) There is 
also an entire coincidence between the arguments of Wesley, 
Fletcher and Watson, to prove the doctrine of original sin, 
and those of Watts and Edwards. 

The modification of the Augustinian system introduced by 
Arminian divines is effected by their doctrine that, in con- 
sequence of the death of Christ, a gracious ability is restored 
to all men in a sufficient degree to enable them to embrace 
the gospel. This is called by Fletcher "a gracious free 
agency ;" and Watson says that by it is communicated "a 
power of willing to come to Christ, even when men do not 
come, — a power of considering their ways and turning to 
the Lord, when they do not consider them and turn to 
him." (p. 377.) Upon the foreseen use of this power 
they base the eternal decision of God as to man's salvation, 
and thus arrive at the ancient doctrine of conditional pre- 
destination, although in a different way from the Semipela- 
gians and the early Greek church. 


It is not my purpose to enter into a discussion of the 
points at issue, between the Arminians and the Calvinists, 
with reference to this doctrine. I will only say, that, 
under a system of real preexistence there is an important 
truth which is very nearly related to the doctrine of 
gracious ability, though not identical with it, but which I 
have not space now to develop. 

But my main object is to say that, so long as the idea of 
a forfeiture in Adam is retained, and real preexistence is 
denied, neither of the modifications which I have described 
is effectual to meet the demands of the principles of equity 
and of honor. 

As we have seen, "Wesley places the demands of these 
principles as high as Augustine, Dr. Watts, or any of the 

According to these principles, God is bound to give to 
every new-created being a sound and healthy moral consti- 
tution, perfect free will, and predominant tendencies to 
good. Accordingly, Wesley perfectly accords with Augus- 
tine, Turretin, Watts, and the Reformers, in holding tliat 
to make new-created beings either neutral, or with a pre- 
ponderance towards evil, would be highly unjust and 
dishonorable in God. Unless these rights have been for- 
feited, it is in the hio-hest de^-ree dishonorable in God to 
disregard them. 

Now, that men are born without such constitutions and 
propensities, and not in such circumstances as these princi- 
ples demand, is conceded by Romanists, Semipelagians and 
Arminians, as well as by Calvinists. True, the Romanists 
and Semipelagians do not regard free will as annihilated by 
the fall. Nevertheless, they concede that it is weakened 
and depressed, and that the mind is full of corrupt propen- 
sities, all strongly tending towards evil, so that without 


divine grace man will surely perish. It follows that man is 
as truly wronged n& on the Augustinian supposition, even 
if not to the same extent. There is, in principle, no differ- 
ence in the two cases, and this modification of the system 
furnishes no relief. 

On the other hand, the Arminians allege that by divine 
grace, through Christ, free agency has been restored to all 
men. Even if this were conceded, it does not bring them 
up to the point demanded by the principles of equity and 
honor ; for they still have depraved natures, and are full of 
propensities to evil, which are certain to ruin them if God 
does not interpose. But this is contrary to the demands of 
the laws of honor and right with reference to new-created 
minds, as set forth by Wesley and the Reformers. 

But, if, even notwithstanding gracious ability, men are 
wronged, still more are they wronged by being created in a 
state of such entire depravity and inability as to need such 
a restoration of power. They ought to have had it from 
the outset ; and the restoration of it is not grace, but only a 
partial and inadequate compensation for the original wrong. 

The same reply may be made to tlie allegation of some 
high churchmen, that God is justified in his dealings with 
men through Adam, by providing for them the opportunity 
of baptismal regeneration in infancy. For, according to 
the principles of equity and honor, God ought not to have 
created men in such a state as to need such a remedy, — 
even if it were one, which it is not. Moreover, this alleged 
remedy did not exist till the days of Christ, and since then 
has been inaccessible by the majority of the human race. 

After all, in every one of these cases, and in all equally, 
if we would defend God, we are driven back to the problem 
which I have already considered at length, — that is, to 
show how men can forfeit their original rights, as new- 


created minds, before they are born into tbis world, as long 
as a real personal preexistence and real sin are denied. A 
necessity of solving this problem lies at the foundation of 
all these systems alike. If it is, as I have endeavored to 
show, absurd and impossible, then no modification of a sys- 
tem, so lonor as it rests on such an allecred forfeiture as its 
basis, can furnish any relief. 

Undoubtedly the motive of the Romish divines, in their 
doctrine of free will, was to vindicate God from dishonor 
with reference to the origin of sin and the ruin of man. 
This Moehler distinctly affirms, and makes prominent in his 
defence of their theology. So, also, no one who has read 
Wesley, Fletcher and Watson, can doubt that the Armin- 
ians aimed at the same end in their doctrine of the restora- 
tion of ability by grace and conditional predestination. 
But the difficulty lay too deep for either of these expedients 
to reach. It is not peculiar to the Lutheran, to the Calvin- 
ist. to the Romanist, to the Arminian or to the Episcopa- 
lian. It is found in the common foundation of the system 
of each and all. 

After laying such a foundation, the evil cannot be reme- 
died by any improved mode of building upon it. A system 
based on injustice cannot be so developed as to become a 
just system. 



In my introductory remarks I made the following state- 
ments : "The conflict of which I propose to write is, and 
ever has been, in its deepest recesses, a conflict of the heart. 
Not that gigantic intellectual efforts have not been abun- 
dantly put forth, but that the deepest and most powerful 
impulses have ever been those of the heart." I also 
remarked that ' ' the merely logical encounters of power- 
fully developed intellectual systems tend rather to irritation 
and alienation than to sympathy and confidence. Never- 
theless, beneath every man's intellectual efforts on this 
subject there has been a deeply affecting personal expe- 
rience, which, if known, would show, in a manner adapted 
to awaken deep sympathy, why he has reasoned as he has. 
Indeed, there is a great heart, not only of natural honor, 
but, still more, of sanctified humanity, which, from begin- 
ning to end, underlies this momentous controversy, the 
deep workings of which must be developed and appreciated 
before the controversy can be properly understood. No 
honorable mind can see these workings uncovered, and not 
be touched with deep emotion in viewing the -struggles of 
our common humanity, in endeavoring to resolve the deepest 
and most momentous problems of the present trying and 
mysterious system." I also declared that " it is my aim 
to unfold this experience, and thus, if I may, to create on 


all sides a feeling of sympathy and mutual interest, by 
pointing out those benevolent and honorable impulses, and 
that regard for truth, — mixed, it may be, with other 
motives, — by which the various parties have been actuated, 
and to produce a candid and united effort to eliminate error, 
and to develop the whole truth." 

To some extent I have been able, in the general survey 
which I have now completed, to unveil the workings of the 
hearts of our fellow- Christians of different ages, from the 
beginning. My chief regret has been that, on account of 
my narrow limits, I have not been able to do it more fully. 
I deeply feel the importance of such an exhibition. We 
are too prone to forget that all redeemed and holy men of 
every age are still our brethren, and one with us in Christ. 
We are too prone to forget their circumstances and trials, 
and the real and great works which they have performed, 
each in his age, for God and for man. We are too much 
inclined to think of their works as collections of dry and 
dead dogmas, forgetting that they were once filled with the 
warm emotions of living hearts, and that their authors still 
live, and, if we are Christians, still love us, and delight to 
receive from us fraternal tributes of love and esteem. 

The most affecting thought to my mind, in making this 
review, has been that God, who knows all truth, should 
have permitted men who truly loved him and communed 
with him to remain involved in so great and so injurious 
errors. But facts show that God has not seen fit to con- 
nect infallibility with eminent piety. Indeed, had he done 
it, he must have entirely changed his administration of this 
world. The mysterious developments of this system, such 
dS the great apostasy, and the long reign of ecclesiastical 
despotism and of brute force, could not have taken place as 
they have, if God had from the first given infallibility to 


all holy men. One result of the course pursued by God 
has been, to rebuke, in all ages, the spirit of man-worship. 
Nevertheless, He has never designed by it to destroy the 
spirit of brotherly love and of mutual respect among 
Christians of different ages ; and the time will come when 
they will know, love and respect each other, as they have 
not done in the dark ages of the past conflict. It will be 
seen, too, that the final end and highest aim of this great 
conflict has been in all ages simple and sublime. 

The regeneration of man has been the practical work to 
be done ; . but, as he is regenerated for God, the final end 
and highest aim has been to find a full, consistent, and per- 
fect view of a glorious God. This is the highest necessity 
of a holy mind. It awakens its strongest desires, and is 
essential to its perfect peace. The voice of every holy soul 
in all ages has been, ' ' God, thou art my God ; early 
will I seek thee ; my soul thirsteth for thee ; my flesh long- 
eth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, 
for thy loving-kindness is better than life." "With thee 
is the fountain of life; in thy light shall I see light." 
"One thing have I desired, that will I seek after, that 
I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my 
life ; that I may behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire 
in his holy temple." 

It will nevertheless be seen, as I think, that, in some 
way, dark clouds have been made to arise and to eclipse the 
glories of God, so that in the most absolute sense it has 
been true that, logically viewed, he has dwelt in the thick 
darkness. INIany things received and taught and defended 
concerning him by the best of men, have ascribed to him 
acts more at war with the fundamental principles of equity 
and honor than have ever been imagined or performed by 
the most unjust, depraved and corrupt of created minds. 


Nothing, in fact, can be conceived of wliich is more dishon- 
orable and unjust than the deeds which have been ascribed 
to God, and made the basis of the whole work of redemp- 
tion, — that greatest of all his works. 

It is no doubt true that this has always been done uncon- 
sciously and unintentionally. ' No Christian divine has ever 
for a moment admitted that the real rei^inins; God of the 
universe ever has, in fact, ceased to make honor and right 
the foundation of his throne; yet it is nevertheless true 
that systems of theology have been framed which, in reality, 
have represented him as so doing, and that these systems 
have been supposed to be based upon the explicit state- 
ments of God. These statements have sometimes been 
received as the decisions of an infallible church as to the 
sense of the Bible ; at others, as the opinions of the great 
body of believers, in all ages, as to that sense. 

These are the things which, in fact, have been done; 
and, under the influence of such systems, honorable and 
ingenuous minds have been, and still are, liable to be 
exposed to an inconceivable amount of suffering. Fearing 
to call in question what is regarded as sustained by the 
assertion of God, or is believed by an infallible church, or 
by the great body of Christians, — prevented by Christian 
consciousness from taking refuge in infidelity, and yet 
unable to exterminate the principles of honor and right 
implanted by God in their souls, — they cannot see around 
them anything but a universe of terror and gloom, in tho 
lurid light of which a just and honorable God cannot be 
seen, and in which the soul faints, and it seems better to 
die than to live. 

Others may have defended themselves against coming 
into such a state, by entirely suspending the exercise of the 
logical power, from respect to the supposed statements of 


God, or from a regard to the decisions of a church supposed 
to be infalUble, or to the opinions of the main body of 
Christians in all ages. Of the truth of the great features 
of the system, they are assured; and, if they meet with 
positive contradictions of fundamental principles of equity 
and honor, they will not look into them. Thus, to use a 
metaphor, though by faith they swallow them, still they 
do not logically digest them, and thus the poison does not 
directly enter into their mental circulation. 

But with an increasing number of minds such a course 
will not always be possible. This is especially likely to be 
true of those who have been disciplined in the higher 
departments of a properly conducted system of education, 
and yet have a deep Christian experience. One great end 
of a true education is to discipline the mind for the candid 
and unprejudiced pursuit of truth. It teaches the honest 
Christian to renounce all pious fraud, and not to think that 
it can ever be for God's glory that we should lie for him. 
Moreover, it teaches that it is for the interest of all to know 
the truth, and that it is a duty to be faithful to it at any 
sacrifice of reputation or property, or personal ease and 
enjoyment. It also recognizes the truth which is taught 
by the structure of the human mind, by the material uni- 
verse, and by providence, as a part of the revelation which 
God has made to man as really as the Bible, and does not 
feel at liberty to suppress any truth taught by God. The 
future, at least, will develop the result of such views. 

But, even if education has not been in all past ages such 
as it ought to be, — and we do not pretend that it has, — 
still, even when imperfectly developed, its higher grades 
have naturally tended to produce free thought, and to give 
power to that thought. But it has ever led to peculiar 
trials ; for, since the mind is limited and wakes up in this 


vorld under the influence of the opinions of the existing 
goneration, and the system of God is vast and manifold in 
its relations, it is extremely difficult and laborious for a 
single mind so to grasp and comprehend it as to study out 
and adjust all its parts, relations and bearings. And if it 
has had elements wrought into it that bring one part of it 
into conflict with another, and these remain undiscovered, 
then the logical tendencies of difierent minds will impel 
them in diflerent directions, according as circumstances 
or the constitutional temperament fix the attention on one 
part or another of the system. Those who feel deeply one 
part of the system try to carry that out logically. Others, 
who feel another part, try to do the same w^ith that. Hence 
arises at once the tendency, already illustrated, of one part 
of the system to destroy another, to which it has been put 
in opposition. Hence divisions arise, and extreme parties 
are formed, — each urging one part of the system so far as 
to destroy another. In view of these conflicts intermediate 
parties arise, each trying to retain both of the opposing 
parts of the system, but differing in the modes in which 
they endeavor to harmonize and adjust them ; but all alike 
failing in the effort. 

Nevertheless, on the scale of ages, the principles of honor 
and right will finally predominate and have the advantage, 
whatever may be the purposes or wishes of those who hold 
the system ; and if, by any false theory, they have been put 
in opposition to any fundamental facts of tlio system, either 
those facts will be generally dropped, or they will be so mod- 
ified as to lose their real nature and import, or else the false 
theory Avill be repudiated by which the opposition has been 

Now, all the Avide field of history which I have sketched 
is but a collection of instructive illustrations of these tenden- 


;ies of the mind under the common system ; and, after ages 
)f conflict, the time seems to be drawing near in which one or 
the other of the last-mentioned results must be anticipated. 
Either the principles of honor and right will generally 
iestroy or render unmeaning the great facts as to the ruin of 
\nan, or else that theory will be renounced by which those 
t>rinciples have been arrayed in opposition to these facts. 

Thus have the reality of the alleged conflict, its causes, 
md a possible remedy, been considered, and the importance 
of its speedy application. The final question now arises. 
Shall the theory of a previous existence be received as true ? 

In answer to this three things have been said : There is 
no evidence of its truth ; it merely shifts the difficulty, but 
does not remove it ; and it is inconsistent with the word of 
God. These allegations I shall consider in the following 





When it is asserted, as has been stated, that the doc- 
triae of preexistence — to which I have resorted as alone 
effectual to harmonize the conflicting powers of Chris- 
tianity — is a mere theory not sustained by any proof, the 
question naturally arises, What is meant by this assertion 7 
Is it that it is nowhere in express terms asserted in the 
Scriptures ? The truth of this assertion I have conceded ; 
for I have only assumed " that God has so presented to us 
this system, taken as a whole, that by a careful study of 
it we may learn the great law of its harmonious action ; and 
that the Bible has said nothing designed to foreclose this 
mode of inquiry, or to confine us, by express verbal revela- 
tion, to any particular theory on the subject.^' (Book in. 
oh. 2, p. 198.) 

If, however, any one is disposed to call in question the 
validity of this mode of reasoning, I would simply ask him, 
Have texts of scripture any authority before you have 


proved that there is a God, and that the Bible is hia 
inspired word 7 

If not, then you must prove those fundamental truths, — 
the being of a God, and the divine origin and inspiration 
of the Bible, — by the kind of reasoning which I propose to 
use to prove preexistence ; that is, reasoning from divinely 
implanted intellectual and moral intuitions, and from the 
facts of the system. If, therefore, this mode of reasoning 
is sufficiently valid to be the original basis of all religion, 
is it not also valid enough to sustain the doctrine of pre- 
existence? Moreover, by what other mode of reasoning 
can the truth of the Newtonian theory be proved ? But I 
shall say more upon this point in another place. 

But, if any one shall concede the validity of the mode 
of reasoning, but shall assert that by it nothing can be 
proved in favor of the doctrine of preexistence, then I 
reply that this is a mere gratuitous assertion, and no argu- 
ment. Before conceding any weight to such an assertion, 
it is at least expedient first to hear the arguments which 
this mode of reasoning will furnish in favor of the doctrine 
in question. 

The same reply may be made to the allegation that it 
merely shifts the difficulty, but does not remove it. This, 
also, is an unproved assertion ; and it would be well, before 
giving any credit to it, to consider carefully and thoroughly 
and to weigh well the true and logical bearings of preexist- 
ence on the difficulties of the system. 

But, before proceeding to consider either of these main 
points, it is indispensable at the outset to meet the third 
assertion, — that the doctrine of preexistence is opposed to 
the statements of the inspired volume. 

It is natural and proper, in view of such an assertion, to 
ask, What aie those statements ? Are they those which 


i«»ftcli merely the fact tliat men are born depraved, and are 
hj nature the children of wrath ? Certainly these do not 
deny or disprove preexistence. For, if men preexisted and 
fell before they entered this world, it would of course result 
in these very facts. Therefore, when the Bible asserts the 
existence of these facts, it does not deny preexistence. Nay, 
more, so far as preexistence accounts for these facts, in con- 
sistency with the character of God, better than any other 
system, so far does the statement of them in the Bible cre- 
ate a presumption of its truth. The same also is true as to 
the inspired statements of the magnitude and totality of 
human depravity. 

To disprove preexistence from the Bible, then, it is 
necessary to produce not merely texts to prove native 
depravity, and its development in a life entirely sinful, but 
also passages that shall particularly state that these facts 
originated in this world, and not in a previous state of 

To meet this point, there is, so far as I know, but one 
passage on which any general reliance is placed ; but still 
that one is enough, if it really does meet and decide the 
point. That one passage is the celebrated comparison of 
Adam and Christ, which occurs in verses 12 — 21 of the 
fifth chapter of the epistle of Paul to the Romans. 

I need not say of this that it has been in all ages and 
still is relied on by many eminent Christians, as proving 
that the sinfulness of the human race was caused by the sin 
of Adam, either by imputation, or by natural causation, or 
through divine efficiency, or in some other way. But, if so, 
then, of course, it was not caused by a fall in a preexistent 

It is necessary, therefore, before proceeding to any gen- 
eral course of reasoning, first to inquire what is the true 


import of this celebrated passage. Indeed, I think ft.«it 
practically the whole of the present discussion turns more 
upon this than upon any other point. For, if it had not 
been for the belief that this chapter proves such a doctrine 
of forfeiture as I have considered, — a doctrine that 
appears impossible and unjust, — it could never have gained 
credence, or sustained itself for a single hour ; nor would 
it have ever been believed that the sin of Adam could 
or did in any way produce the terrific depravity which 
has been exhibited in this world ever since his creation 
and fall. 

But so long as it has been supposed that God has asserted 
these things, it has been felt to be a duty to overrule even 
those intuitive moral and intellectual convictions which He 
has implanted in the soul, rather than to distrust his word. 
Much as I respect the spirit of faith and of submission to 
God from which this course of conduct has proceeded, still 
I cannot but lament that the proper laws of interpreting 
such a passage had not been more thoroughly studied before 
coming to such painful and injurious results. 

It is evident, therefore, from what has been said, that the 
proper interpretation of this passage is the first point which 
demands our attention. 

It is plain, also, that this is a point of peculiar moment, 
since the whole scriptural question depends, in fact, upon 
this text. If this fails to sustain the common opinion, there 
is no other. This will probably strike some with surprise. 
They have been wont to regard the Bible as full of proof 
of the fall in Adam. The reason is, that they have 
regarded all proof of native depravity and the fallen con- 
dition of the race as virtually proof of the fall of the race 
in Adam. It is, however, as we have said, no proof at all 
of this point. It is proof of a fall at some time, but 


whether in Adam or before Adam it does not decide. It 
suits alike either hypothesis. Let us, then, come to the 
solitary passage on which the common doctrine is wholly 
based,— Rom. 5: 12—19. 

If it shall appear that no valid argument can be derived 
from this passage against the doctrine of preexistence, then 
the way will be fully prepared to take up and to develop 
the general argument for that doctrine, on the principles 
which have been already stated ; and also to answer such 
objections as have been alleged against it in those super- 
ficial discussions of it to which I have previously referred. 



No other passage of scripture can be mentioned, the inter- 
pretation of which has so seriously affected the human race. 
Indeed, from the magnitude and universality of its effects, 
an aspect of sublimity must ever invest it to the thoughtful 

From age to age, the millions of a depraved race had 
filled this world in successive generations. At length a 
great Redeemer came. He came to redeem a church, to 
destroy the kingdom and works of Satan, and to reorganize 
the universe of God. But whence originated the evil which 
he came to remedy ? What was it that plunged the human 
race in ruins ? What caused the infinite emergency to 
meet which none was adequate in the wide universe but an 
incarnate God ? 

Questions these full of interest to all worlds, but above 
all to us ; for we are the race from which the church is to be 
redeemed, and all of our race not included in this redemp- 
tion are to perish forever. 

Need we wonder, then, that theologians and poets, phi- 
losophers and kings, as well as unlettered men in all the 
walks of common' life, have listened with deep interest to 
these teachings of the apostle : that Milton, in his immortal 


epic, designed to justify the ways of God to man, should make 
it the burden of his song ; that learned expositors and divines 
should expend volumes on it ; that it should become the basis 
of systems of theology, sermons, catechisms and hymns ; that 
it should tinge all the scenes of domestic life, rise before the 
mind in the sacred hour of marriage, or as any new-born 
heir of immortality enters the world, or as death closes the 
scene ; — in short, that it should lie at the basis of all 
religious thought and emotion in the evangelical Christian 

Are not, then, the moral aspects of the interpretation of 
this passage truly sublime ? Has it not given character to 
the intellectual and moral atmosphere into which each suc" 
cessive generation is born, in which their powers are un- 
folded, and under the influence of which their eternity is 
decided ? And, if it is much to shape one ingenuous youth- 
ful mind, like that of Bacon, Burke, Milton, or Wash- 
ington, in which are the elements of all that can affect and 
interest our deepest sympathies, how much more so, to 
shape the minds of all such for eighteen long centuries, — 
to take whole generations of minds, of all grades and in all 
ranks, and mould them from the cradle to the grave ? 

But, if these things are so, need I say, what every one 
must see and feel without my saying it, how unspeakable 
and inconceivable is the importance of a right interpretation 
of such a passage ?- 

What, then, is the fundamental idea of the common inter- 
pretation? It presupposes that this is our first state of 
existence, and that the guilt and depravity of man are not 
the result of a fall in a previous state of existence, but are 
in some way the result of the first sin of Adam. 

Various have been the attempts to unfold the mode in 
which this alleged fall in or through him took place. Some 


teach thatj in some mysterious way, we existed in Adam, 
were one with him, sinned in him and fell with him, and 
thus corrupted the common generic nature of the race, and 
that hence natural death and a depraved nature descend 
through physical generation ; and that all men being born 
in fact sinners, and with corrupted natures, are under the 
wrath of God ; and that the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed 
to them, because it is truly and properly theirs. 

Others deny any mysterious unity with Adam before we 
were born, and our actual commission of his first sin, but 
say that, as Adam was our natural and federal head, God 
imputes his sin to us, and thus makes it really ours, though 
not personally ; or else that, by a divine judicial constitution, 
he regards it as ours, though it is not, and holds us liable 
to punishment for it, independently of and before our own 
acts ; and that, on one of these grounds, as a punishment 
of that sin, we forfeit his favor, and that accordingly he 
withdraws from us divine supernatural influences, so that 
we are born devoid of original righteousness, and, as a 
necessary result, with natures corrupt and sinful, anterior 
to choice or action, and leading to actual sin, and deserving 
of eternal death. 

Others do not retain the doctrine of imputation at all, 
and yet believe that the ruinous consequences of Adam's sin 
do come upon us ; and that, on account of it, we are born 
with depraved natures before choice or action, which are 
properly sinful. 

Others, denying a depraved nature anterior to choice, 
and holding that all sin is voluntary, ascribe to a stated 
exercise of divine efliciency the fact that all men sin. 

Others only affirm that our natures have been so changed, 
in consequence of Adam's fall, that in all the appropriate 
circumstances of our being in this world we sin as soon as 


moral agency commences ; and, although the mere nature 
of man before volition cannot be strictly sinful, yet, in a 
popular sense, it may be called corrupt, depraved and 
sinful, — that is, always leading to sin. 

Augustine, as we have seen, originally developed the first 
view, and the others are different stages of recession from it, 
caused by the pressure of arguments derived from the prin- 
ciples of honor and right, and the character of God. But 
still, all have one idea in common,— that our original guilt 
and sinfulness were not caused by our own action in another 
state ot being, but by the sin of Adam. 

The interpretat^'on of Augustine rested very much on the 
false translation of verse 12 in the Latin Vulgate, " in quo 
omnes peccaverunt," which means " in whom all sinned,'' 
instead of " for that (or because) all sinned." Hence 
he often says, that all men were one in Adam, and that 
Adam, though one, was all men. His philosophical notions, 
according to Neander, Hagenbach and others, also favored 
this view. His realistic mode of thinking, as Hagenbach 
alleges, led him to confound the abstract with the concrete, 
and so to consider the human race as originally a concrete 
totality, in which the individuals were merged, instead of a 
mere collection of distinct and successive individuals, repre- 
sented by a generic term. 

This interpretation was to some extent held during the 
Middle Ages, and by some at the time of the Reformation, 
and even since then, it has been defended. So long as it 
was supposed to rest on the testimony of revelation, its 
advocates could repel any protest of reason on the grounds 
of faith and mystery. And it is instructive to notice how 
wide may be the influence of a wrong translation or exposi- 
tion of even one word of the inspired oracles ; and therefore 
it is well for all to feel the responsibility, even at this day,, 
of translating or expounding a passage like this. 


The second exposition, or that of those who derive thtj 
doctrine of imputation from this passage, is distinguished 
by this peculiarity, that it denies absolutely and unequivo- 
cally that the apostle here asserts that men became actual 
sinners, or even received a depraved nature through the sin 
of Adam. Not only, say they, the passage does not teach 
this, but it is entirely against its scope and main end. It 
teaches simply th»t, as all men were condemned to death for 
Adam's sin, so all who belong by faith to Christ were jus- 
tified by Christ's righteousness. By death, they under- 
stand penal evils of all kinds. They hold, indeed, that 
human depravity resnlted from this condemnation, since 
God forsook the condemned race, and took away his Spirit, 
and depravity followed of course. But all that the passage 
directly teaches is the condemnation of all for the sin of 
Adam, and the justification of believers for Christ's sake. 
The sense is altogether judicial. This is at present the 
proper Old School vicAv. 

The New School divines, on the other hand, consider the 
passage as teaching not that all men were condemned for 
Adam's act, but that they all became sinners in consequence 
of it in some way, without defining alike in what way it 
was. For saying this, they are charged by their Old School 
brethren with overlooking the entire scope, end and aim, of 
the passage. 

There was originally, and for four centuries, still another 
view of this passage; that of the Greek church, which 
regarded the death spoken of in it as merely natural death. 
Before Tertullian and Augustine, this was also the view of 
the Latin church. Irenseus, the great opponent of heretics, 
knew nothing of anything but physical death in this pas- 
sage. In favor of this view the authority of the Greek 
fathers is uniform and unbroken. Muenscher gives passages 


in proof of this statement, from Justin Martyr, Athena- 
goras. Tatian, Theopliilus Antioch., Clemens Alex., 
Origen, Atlianasius, Chrysostom, Cyrill Hierosol., Titus of 
Bostra, Basil the Great, Gregory Naz., Gregory Nyss., 
Nemesius, Epiphanius. Moreover, it is remarkable that 
Pelagius took the lead in denying this position, and in 
defending the doctrine that the death here spoken of wag 
spiritual death. > 

In John of Damascus, who, at a subsequent date, gave 
form to the theology of the Greek church, the early doctrine 
of that church reappears ; and still later Greek writers, as 
Theodorus Studaita, Theophylact and Euthymius Ziga- 
benus, repeat it. They all teach that Adam's sin brought 
natural death on his posterity, but do not teach the propa- 
gation of a depraved nature, nor any connate guilt of 
Adam's sin. Indeed, as we have seen, earlier fathere 
explained the fact that men do uniformly sin, rather by the 
influence of evil spirits, than by a reference to the fall of 
Adam. Some, however, admitted that the moral faculties 
of man had been iveakened by the fall ; but none thought 
of denying the free will of man, and the voluntary nature 
of all sin. Cyrill of Jerusalem, according to Hagenbach, 
as we have seen, regarded men as born in a state of inno- 
cence, and that a free agent alone can sin. Ephraim the 
Syrian, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil the Great, take the 
same view. Chrysostom most earnestly advocated the 
liberty of man and his power of moral self-determination, 
and severely censured all who endeavored to excuse their 
own immoralities by ascribing the origin of their sin to the 
fall of Adam. 

From this general view of the interpretation of this 
passage, one thing is plain, — that no one exposition, ancient 
or modern, can claim tiie sanction of universal authority. 



We have considered some of the various modes in whicn 
this passage has been interpreted. 

I shall next proceed to state what appears to me to be 
the true interpretation. 

In my opinion, then, the interpretations of the Old 
School party and of the Greek church contain each an 
element of the true interpretation, to which must be added a 
third, found in neither, in order to combine all the parts of 
the true system. 

The element of truth in the Old School system is, that 
the sense of the passage is judicial, relating to condemna- 
tion and justification, and not to the causation of sin or 
holiness in the race. 

The element of truth in the Greek system is, that the 
death spoken of is simply natural death. 

The element to be added, however, is one of more import- 
ance than either of the preceding, and must control the 
whole interpretation of the passage. 

It is this, — that all the language, in this passage, which is 
commonly understood to assert that the sin of Adam exerted 
a causative power upon the condition and character of his 
descendants, need not be understood to denote real causa- 


tion, but may, if any good reason calls for it, be held to 
denote only apparent causation ; and that a good reason does 
call for this view ; and moreover that such a sequence of 
apparent causation was established solely in order to make 
Adan_ a type of Christ. 

The passage, then, thus viewed, teaches that God was 
pleased to establish immediately on the sin of Adam, and 
through that sin, the sequence of condemnation to natural 
death upon all men ; a sequence linked to Adam's act by 
no causative power, but established solely as a type and 
illustration, both by similitude and antithesis, of the 
sequence of justification and life eternal from the obedience 
of Christ, — a sequence in which there is a real and 
glorious causative power. 

Such a sequence, in itself devoid of causative power, but 
established for typical purposes, I call a merely typical 
sequence. It is one not founded in the nature of things, 
but in a positive arrangement, designed for typical effect. 

To illustrate my idea. When an Israelite, bitten by a 
fiery serpent, in accordance with the word of God, looked 
up at the brazen serpent erected by Moses on a pole, he 
was immediately healed. Here, then, was a fixed sequence 
established by God. And yet all admit that there was in 
the brazen serpent no healing power. It was then a 
sequence of apparent causation, and not of real causation. 
But God was pleased to establish it for typical purposes, to 
illustrate the healing of the soul, mortally wounded by sin, 
that folloAvs looking by faith to Christ. 

Here, then, is a case of a merely typical sequence. 
There is apparent causation, but no real causation ; and the 
sequence is established to typify another, in which there is a 
real and glorious causative power. 

In like manner, that the sequence of condemnation and 


death coming on all men througli the sin of Adam was a 
merely typical sequence, established to illustrate a causative 
sequence of justification and spiritual life through Christ, 
is the position which I lay down as the key of this whole 

So important a position will, of course, demand a radical 
investigation. Such an investigation will require us to 
consider tw^o questions : 

1. Is the sequence in this case, whatever it may be. one 
merely typical 1 

2. What is the sequence ? 

Of these two, the first, as we have said, is the funda- 
mental question. Certain things are, in this passage, said to 
have been done by or through one man. What they are, as 
we have seen, is not agreed. Some say that by him natu- 
ral death came on all men. Others, that penal retributions 
in general came on all men. Others, that universal sinful- 
ness came on all men. 

Now, without at present deciding which of these sequences 
is meant in the passage, I will merely assume that a 
sequence is meant of some sort, and ask is it, or is it not, a 
sequence of real causation ? 

To this I have replied that it is not, by any necessity of 
the case. I admit that the lano-uaore used to denote actual 
causation is used. So far as the mere words are concerned, 
they may bear that sense. But there is no necessity of it. 
It is equally in accordance with the laws of language and 
the usages of scripture to suppose that the sequence is one 
of merely apparent causation ; so that the sin of Adam, in 
> fact, exerted no influence whatever on his race, but it and 
its sequences were merely ordered .so to stand in relation to 
each other as to make, at the very introduction of the 
human race into this world, a striking type of the coming 


Messiah, by -whom the race was to be redeemed. On this 
latter supposition, the fallen condition and depravity of the 
race are assumed as having been already in existence, and 
the doctrine is that the events connected with the introduc- 
tion of tne race into this world by one man were such as tc 
form a type of the relations and acts of the coming Messiah, 
in redeeming the church. 

Those interpretations which assume a causative sequence 
make the sin of Adam really to cause either natural death, 
or condemnation, or depravity to all the race, and so to do 
it as to be a type of the coming Messiah. 

The interpretation which I propose makes it a divinely- 
established antecedent, without causative power, but de- 
signed to make in the opening scene of this world's history 
a sublime, impressive and beautiful type of the coming 
Messiah. The truth of this view, as I have said, is the 
fundamental question of the whole discussion. It is also a 
question the importance of which cannot be over-estimated. 
It is also a question, so far as I know, never thus raised or 
discussed before. It has been generally assumed that, 
whatever it is that followed the act of Adam, it was linked 
to it by the power of a real causation. No one seems to 
have thought that any law of language, or any usage of 
scripture, gave us our choice here between real and apparent 
causation. All seem to have felt themselves shut up to one 
mode of understanding the language of causation here used. 

However great, therefore, might be the objections from 
the nature of things, or from the principles of honor and 
right, to such an understanding, it has been felt that we 
have no right to give them any weight in opposition to the 
express statements of God. 

It is my purpose, therefore, to show that the laws of lan- 
guage and the usages of scripture do not shut us up to such 


a mode of interpretation ; that the mode which regards the 
sequence as merely apparent and typical is in perfect 
accordance with scripture usages, and the just laws of inter- 

1. I say, then, in the first place, that nothing is more 
common in scripture than to describe sequences of apparent 
causation in the same language as is used to describe real 

2. Secondly, in the case of types in particular, the 
sequences are very often those of apparent causation, and 
yet are always spoken of in the same language which is 
used to denote real causation. 

3. Thirdly, that, in the case of any type, if there is in 
the nature of things a valid objection to the admission of 
real causation between the antecedent and the consequent, 
we have a perfect right to resort to the interpretation which 
assumes apparent causation. 

4. By thus presenting to the mind a choice between the 
two modes of interpretation, objections to the first mode 
cease to be objections against the assertions of God, and 
become appropriate means of deciding what his language 
means, and thus what his assertions are. 

Before proceeding to confirm my statements by proof, I 
would remark that the fundamental nature and the supreme 
importance of the inquiry will authorize more detail of 
Bcripture and other proof than I should otherwise employ. 

If, therefore, I multiply proofs and examples, it will 
be for the sake of impression, and to countervail long- 
established associations by the full exhibition of the laws 
of language, and the usages of the word of God. 



We come now to consider the truth of the propositions 
which I have laid down. And, in the first place, I say that 
there are in the word of God many sequences of merely 
apparent causation, not only in types, but elsewhere. And 
in all such cases both scripture and the common usages of 
language, Ayithout hesitation, denote these sequences by the 
same forms of speech which are used to denote real causa- 
tion. Of this we may find striking illustrations in the case 
of miracles, where the causative power is in God alone, and 
yet is apparently exerted by second causes. For example, 
Moses, by the direction of God, employed a rod, called the 
rod of God (Ex. 4 : 20, and 17 : 9), in producing the 
plagues of Egypt, in dividing the Red Sea, and in bringing 
water from the rock. Hence God speaks as if the rod had 
a causative power, — Ex. 4 : 17. " Take this rod, where- 
with thou shalt do signs." Hence, also, without hesitation, 
men say that by the rod of Moses the water of Egypt wsis 
turned into blood, thunder and hail were brought from, 
heaven, and swarms of locusts were summoned to devour 
the land. So also they say that by the rod of Moses the 
Red Sea was divided, and water was brouglit from the flinty 


In like manner, so far as language is concerned, a caus- 
ative power to work miracles is by God ascribed to Moses 
himself; for, in Num. 20 : 8, God says to him, " Thou 
shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock ; so shalt 
thou give the congregation and their beasts to drink." 

So also it is said (Acts 5: 12), "By the hands of the 
apostles (that is, by the apostles) were many signs and 
wonders wrought among the people." God also said to 
Moses, " Lift thou up the rod, and stretch out thine hand 
over the sea and divide it." (Ex. 14 : 16.) 

This mode of speech is natural to man, and almost uni- 
versal. If we will read commentators, and the sermons 
even of the most eminent divines, we shall find that they 
speak as if miracles were in fact wrought by second causes ; 
that is, they speak according to the appearance of things. 
Thus they freely say that handkerchiefs or aprons from the 
body of Paul, or even his shadow, healed the sick, or that 
the sick were healed by them. (Acts 19 : 12.) So also 
they say that by an ointment made of Christ's spittle and 
clay, and by washing in the pool of Siloam, the eyes of the 
blind man were opened ; and also that by washing in the 
Jordan the leprosy of Naaman was healed. 

So also it is said that by a stick of wood thrown into the 
water the lost head of the axe was made to swim ; and that 
the bad water near Jericho was healed by salt that was 
thrown into it ; and that the bitter water of Marah was made 
sweet by a branch of a tree thrown into it. 

In like manner it is said that Elijah and Elisha divided 
the Jordan by smiting it with their mantle ; and that the same 
river was again divided by the feet of the priests, and the 
ark of the covenant ; that Elisha made iron to swim by a 
stick of wood, and that by the blowing of horns and a shout 
the w\alls of Jericho wei^e thrown down. 


Also, in describing all these facts, the mode of expression 
is often varied, and the apparent cause is said directly to 
do that which follows it. The rod of Moses is said to have 
divided the sea, and the mantle of Elijah the Jordan. Salt 
healed the waters of Jericho, a stick of wood made iron to 
swim, and a branch of a tree rendered sweet the bitter 
waters of Mar ah. 

As an example of the general usage in question, we will 
quote Dr. Smalley: — "The Ked Sea was divided by 
Moses' rod, and the river Jordan by Elijah's mantle. It 
was by smiting the ^nty rock in the wilderness that the 
waters were made to flow out of it like a river. It was by 
throwing a stick into the river that the young prophet's axe 
was made to swim, and by washing seven times in the Jor- 
dan that Naaman was healed of his leprosy." He is here 
endeavoring to show that men are not regenerated by any 
causative efficiency of the truth ; and, to explain such state- 
ments as that men are "born again by the word of God^'' 
he regards it as a case of merely apparent causation, spoken 
of in the same language that is used to denote real caus- 
ation, and quotes these instances as parallel cases. Whether 
he is correct or not in denying that the word of God is a 
real cause in regeneration, he is certainly correct in his 
recognition of the law of language which I have stated. 
Cases of apparent causation, he clearly saw, are often 
described by the same language which is used to describe 
real causation. 

In like manner, w^hat is said to be done by the rod of 
Moses, or by the mantle of Elijah, or by the salt, or the 
branch of a tree, or the stick of wood, is at other times said 
to be done by Moses or Elijah or Elisha themselves, 
although they did not do it any more than the material 
instrument which they used. There is no need of more 


numerous quotations to illustrate and prove tliese usages ; 
they are so abundant that any one can find them for 
himself at pleasure. 

I now proceed to another connected usage of language 
which is worthy of special notice. I refer to the common 
and almost universal practice of forming illustrative com- 
parisons by means of these sequences of apparent causation. 
It will be noticed that, in such cases, there is on one side a 
sequence of apparent causation to illustrate a sequence of 
real causation on the other. Thus Henry says of Elisha, 
"He was a man of great power; he could make iron to 
swim, contrary to its nature; God's grace can thus raise 
the stony iron heart, which is sunk into the mud of 
this world, and raise up affections naturally earthly to 
things above." Here apparent and real causation are 
expressed in the same language, and one is used to illustrate 
the other. He says of Naaman, ''His being cleansed by 
washing put an honor on the law for cleansing lepers." 
He says of Elisha, '' He cast the salt into the spring of the 
waters, and so healed the streams and the ground they 
watered. Thus the way to reform men's lives is to renew 
their hearts ; let those be seasoned with the salt of grace, 
for out of them are the issues of life." Here, too, are the 
elements of a typical comparison. As Elisha, by casting 
in salt, healed the fountains of water, so God by his grace 
heals the fountains of spiritual life in the soul. In this 
case there is on one side apparent, on the other real causa- 
tion, similarly expressed. Scott says that at Marah a tree 
was pointed out to Moses, " by means of which the waters 
became sweet and wholesome." Henry says, " The Jews' 
tradition is, that the wood of this tree was itself bitter, yet 
it sweetened the waters of Marah; so the bitterness of 
Christ's suffering and death alters the property of ours." 


Here again apparent and real causation are expressed alike, 
and one is used to illustrate the other. Of Elisha, Henry 
says, " He was possessed of Elijah's power of dividing the 
Jordan." Also, speaking of '' the influence which the 
rod of Moses had upon the battle with the Amalekites," 
he says, "to convince Israel that the hand of MoSes (with 
whom they had just now been chiding) contributed more to 
their safety than their own hands, his rod than their sword, 
the success rises and falls, as Moses lifts up or lets down 
his hands." 

Again, comparing Moses and Elijah, he says, "As Moses 
with his rod divided the sea, so Elijah with his mantle 
divided Jordan." With reference to the passage of the 
Jordan under Joshua, he says, " These waters of old yielded 
to the ark, now to the prophet's mantle." 

In some of the preceding examples, when no comparison 
is formed, it will be seen that the strongest language of real 
causation is used to describe sequences which are known to 
be entirely devoid of causation. In the last comparisons the 
sequences on both sides are those of apparent causation. 



Under the general laws of language as to sequences of 
apparent causation comes that which it is my main purpose 
at this time to consider. I refer to typical sequences with- 
out any causative power, but established merely for the 
purpose of illustrating other sequences, in which there is 
real causation. Such sequences are merely typical sequences. 
They have no foundation in the nature of things. I do 
not mean to assert, of course, that a sequence in which 
there is real causation cannot be a type, but only that 
there were sequences that had no causative power, and were 
therefore merely typical. They were merely positive insti- 
tutions for typical purposes. In the acts of David as king, 
in which he was a type of Christ, I do not deny that he 
exerted real and causative power ; as, for example, in defend- 
ing the people of God and defeating their foes. In other 
cases, however, if they were not established for the sake of 
making a type, the sequences Avould not have existed at all, 
for they have no foundation in the existing nature of things. 
A sequence of this kind I call a merely typical sequence ; 
it is a sequence of merely apparent causation, established for 
the sake of a typical illustration of another sequence of i^ea] 

In this case the same laws of language exist as in any 


other sequence of apparent causation; that is, the lan- 
guage of real causation is used. It is the more important 
to observe this, inasmuch as a neglect of these laws is the 
main cause of the misinterpretation of the passage in ques- 

For example, God ordained that after certain sacrifices 
sms should be remitted. This is a sequence of merely 
apparent causation, for it is impossible that the blood of 
bulls and of goats should take away sins. But when the 
sacrifice of Christ is followed by the remission of the sins of 
the believer, the causation is real. Moreover, the first 
of these sequences was established for the sake of fore- 
shadowing the second. It is, therefore, a merely typical 

God also ordained that the sprinkling of the blood of the 
paschal lamb on the door-posts of the houses of his people 
should be followed by exemption from the stroke of the 
angel of death. Here, too, the blood had no causative 
power to save. It was a sequence established to illustrate 
the^ power of Christ's blood to avert the blow of divine jus- 
tice. Yet of this blood Scott uses the following remarkable 
language : ' ' The blood of the paschal lamb, sprinkled on 
the lintel and door-posts, was the only security to the 
Israelites from the destroyer who smote the Egyptians ; and 
under that 'protection they must abide during the whole 
night, if they would be secured from destruction. Thus 
must we abide in Christ by faith to the end of our days." 
In like manner the sacred writers habitually speak accord- 
ing to the appearance of things ; and express a typical 
sequence, in which no causation exists, by the same terms 
in which they express a sequence of real causation in the 
antitype. Accordingly, the Mosaic sacrifices are said, in the 
word of God, times without number, to take away sins, to 


make atonement for sins, to confer tlie pardon of sins, &c. , 
the very modes of expression that are used in describing tht 
effects of the elTicient atoning power of the blood of Christ. 
For example, the man who was guilty of fraud as to a trust 
or in fellowship, or of violent robbery, or of deceit, or of ap- 
propriating what had been found and was known to belong to 
another, and swearing falsely to conceal it, was commanded 
first to make restitution, and then to bring a ram as a tres- 
pass offering unto the priest, and then the following une- 
quivocal language is used: "And the priest shall make 
atonement for him before the Lord ; and it shall be forgiven 
him for anything of all that he hath done in trespassing 
therein." (Lev. 6 : 1 — 7.) The same kind of language is 
repeated, in various cases, in the preceding chapter. This 
usage of language is most impressively exhibited in the six- 
teenth of Leviticus, in the account of the great annual 
expiation made by the High Priest in the holy of holies for 
the whole people, by the sprinkling of blood upon and 
before the mercy-seat. He is expressly said to make atone- 
ment, by the sacrifice of the scape-goat, for himself, and 
for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel, 
and to take away all their iniquities, as fully as this is ever 
said to be done by the atonement made by the blood of 
Christ, of which this great annual expiation was the most 
striking type. 

I am aware that Socinus and others have asserted that 
the Mosaic sacrifices were offered only for certain lighter 
offences and sins of ignorance, but not for sins in general. 
In reply to them, Turretin, referring to the passages just 
quoted, and to numerous others, clearly proves that they 
were offered for sins in general, even of the most atrocious 
kind. He asks, "When God, in Lev. 16, mentions ini- 
quities and ?^ebeUio?is, nay, all their sins, does he mean 


only infirmities and sins of ignorance ? No sane man can 
belie vo it." He shows that the sins for which these sacri- 
fices were ofiered were designated by the same names as 
the greatest and most intentional and voluntary sins, and 
then adds, " Since the sins for which these sacrifices were 
offered are expressed by all these names, without any 
restriction, — nay, since the expiation is expressly extended 
to all sins, of whatever kind, — he would do injustice to the 
Holy Spirit who should limit them to sins of a particular 
kind." (Turretin, Disp. xix. on the atonement of Christ, ^ 
9 and 4.) He also freely speaks of these sacrifices as mak- 
ing atonement for all these sins, in language as full as is 
ever used concerning the atonement of Christ ; and he 
adverts to the same use of language in the Scriptures. 

The substitution of the victim, the imposition of hands, 
the confession of sins, the shedding of blood, the depreca- 
tion of divine anger, and the efiects of the whole transaction, 
he refers to as proving that by these sacrifices an atone- 
ment for real and great sins was made. "For," says he, 
"if the sacred rites were duly performed, and the victim 
was declared to be accepted, and to be a sweet-smelling 
savor, then the consequences were the forgiveness of sins 
and the liberation of the criminal. Hence, repeatedly you 
may read in Lev. 4, 5, &c., 'the priest shall make atone- 
ment for him, and his sins shall be forgiven.'" (Disp. xviii. 
<§> 7.) He also illustrates this view by a reference to cases 
in which it is said that an atonement was in fact made and 
accepted, and God appeased by it (Disp. xix. § 6), and then 
adds, "Thus, in innumerable other cases, as often as the 
anger of God against the sins of men is appeased by sacri- 
fices^ so often is it intimated that these sacrifices are offered 
not for some particular and lighter sins, but for all in gen- 
eral, unless in any case particular exceptions are made in 


the law." The existence of some such specially exempted 
cases he admits. 

Yetj in other places, the same Turretin no less distinctly 
declares that these sacrifices had no power to purify the 
conscience by a real atonement, or by any real efl&ciency to 
take away sin. He expressly states and proves the follow- 
ing proposition: ''The victims and sacrifices of the law 
neither expiated nor could expiate any sin, properly speak- 
ing ; they could only expiate certain corporeal and ceremo- 
nial impurities." (Disp. xix. § 18.) 

Hence he says, " There are various modes of speaking 
concerning these victims that seem to be contradictory ; for 
at one time it is denied that they have the power of atoning 
for sins, and at another time it is asserted. But these state- 
ments are easily reconciled by making this distinction : we 
deny to them the power of expiation considered in them- 
selves and in their relations to the law ' ' (that is, the causa- 
tion is merely apparent) ; " but we ascribe it to them viewed 
as connected with Christ in the covenant of grace, and in 
their relations to the mysteries of the gospel, of which they 
were the types and representations." (Disp. xix. § 26.) 
That is, viewing them as types, we use this language just as 
if the causation were real, though in fact it is in Christ only. 

All, then, that I have stated, concerning the laws of 
typical language, is, in fact, recognized by Turretin, and 
would be true if it were not. There was in the sacrifices a 
merely typical sequence, designed to represent a real and 
causative sequence, effected by the atonement of Christ; 
but the language used to describe each sequence was the 
same, so that, although the sacrifices had no power to make 
atonement for sins, yet, as types of the great atonement, 
they were again and again said to make such atonement. 

A very striking case of a similar sequence of apparent 


causation is found in the history of the rebellion of Korah. 
(Num. 16 : 46, 47.) Wrath had gone out from the Lord, 
and the plague had begun. Moses said to Aaron, Go, " take 
a censer, and fire, and incense, and make an atonement for 
them. And Aaron ran into the midst of the people, and 
behold the plague was begun ; and he put on incense and 
made an atonement for the people, and he stood between the 
dead and the living, and the plague was stayed." 

On this Scott says, " This success was a decisive proof 
of the efficacy of his priesthood." " By his burning of 
incense the plague was instantly stayed." "In this he 
was an eminent type of Christ, and his intercession, by 
which his atonement is rendered effectual to our salvation." 
Here is a striking typical illustration of the kind which 1 
am describing. On one side is a merely typical sequence, 
devoid of causative power ; on the other, a causative sequence 
of real and glorious power. Yet God says that Aaron 
made atonement, and the plague was stayed. Concerning 
this same scene, Henry says, "The cloud of Aaron's 
incense, coming from his hand, stayed the plague." Yet 
did he suppose that there was in the incense any real 
power to heal so fatal a pestilence ? It ought here to be 
attentively noticed, that as now by incense, so in the case 
of the passover by the sprinkling of blood on the door- 
posts in Egypt, temporal death was averted. But by 
Christ's blood and intercession spiritual death is averted. 

But, when sacrifices aiid incense are said to atone for sin, 
does the language ever mislead an intelligeixt reader 7 He 
knows that blood and incense cannot thus atone. He 
knows equally well that there is no power to remit sins but 
in the great atoning sacrifice of Christ, and that the remis- 
sions following Mosaic sacrifices were, in fact, efiected by 
the power of that great atonement, as foreseen. 


Indeed, this use of causative language is so natural that 
we fall into it spontaneously and abundantly. For ex- 
ample, though we know that a brazen serpent had no po-wer 
to heal one who had been bitten by a venomous fiery 
serpent, yet we as naturally speak of the serpent lifted up 
by Moses as healing those who looked to it as we do of 
Christ as healing those who look to him. Scott says, " The 
sight of the brazen serpent healed the people." Henry 
says, " That which cured was shapen in the likeness of that 
which wounded." ' ' A serpent of brass cured them. " ' ' Jesus 
Christ came to save us by healing us, as the children of 
Israel that were stung by fiery serpents were cured and 
lived by looking up to the brazen serpent." Peers, speak- 
ing of this type, says, "The tremulous eye of infancj^, or 
the feeble sight of old age, if only directed to its proper 
.object, alike experienced its salutary energy ; and the 
obscure and imperfect faith of those whose natural faculties 
may be insufiicient to comprehend the mysteries of the 
kingdom, or even to explain the nature of their belief, yet 
if humbly directed to the author of life, shall experience 
his poicer to save equally with their more highly-gifted 
brethren." '• As each sufferer must himself look to the 
brazen serpent/or his cure^ so must every repenting sinnei 
believe (in Christ) for salvation." Yet he well knew, foi 
so he says, that the healing efficacy was not in the serpent 
but in God. Newton says, " From guilt and condemnatioi 
there is no relief, till we can look to Jesus, as the woundeo 
Israelites did to the brazen serpent ; which was not to give 
efficacy to medicines and plasters of their own application, 
but to heal them completely of itself by looking at it.''' 
Yet he knew that in reality it had of itself no healing 
power. No stronger language can be used to denote a 
causative sequence than is here used to denote a sequence 


not causative, but merely typical. Edwards says. "The 
way that the people were saved by the brazen serpent was 
by looking k, it, beholding it, as seeking and expecting sal- 
vation from it. And faith and trust in the Messiah are 
often spoken of as the great condition of salvation through 
himP Calvin saj^s, "Christ was to be lifted up that all 
might look to him. Of this there was a type in the brazen 
serpent lifted up by Moses, the ^ight of which was a sav- 
ing cure for those who were mortally wounded by the bite 
of serpents." Turretin says, " If a living serpent bit 
any one, a dead serpent cured him, and that merely by the 
sight of it." Yet elsewhere he says that neither the ser- 
pent nor the act of looking to him had any healing power. 
He then asks, "Why was the serpent lifted up as a 
remedy for the wounds of Israel ? Why did a sight of 
it heal 7 ' ' He answers, - ' Because the serpent was a divinely- 
ordained type of Christ, and his power to heal the wounds 
of sin." Doddridge, in his paraphrase, says. " As Moses 
lifted up the brazen serpent on a pole in the wilderness, tc 
heal those that were dying by the venom of the fiery 
serpents there, so also must the Son of Man be first lifted 
up on a cross, and then publicly exhibited in the preaching 
of the gospel, that sinners may receive by him a far more 
noble and important cure.'''' 

I quote thus largely in order to make the laws of lan- 
guage in such cases familiar, and could easily multiply cases 
from the usages of language concerning other types. But 
what I have quoted must be sufficient. In this last case, 
two things are deserving of very particular notice. One, 
that a typical sequence, not implying causative power, is 
expressed in precisely the same way as the causative 
sequence which it typified. The other, that the type 
relates to the healing of the body, the antitype to the heal- 


ing of the mind, just as the sprinkling of blood in Egypt 
and the incense of Aaron related to averting temporal 
death, but the blood and intercession of Christ to averting 
spiritual and eternal death, in accordance with the analogy 
established by God between things material and things 

Let us now review what has been proved. It has been 

1. That nothing is more common than the existence in 
types of sequences of apparent causation, established foi 
purposes of typical illustration. 

2. That these, in common with all other sequences of 
apparent causation, are both in scriptural and in commoij 
usage described in the very language that is used to denote 
real causation. 

It follows that, if in the case of any type there is a valid 
objection to admitting a sequence of real causation, we have 
a perfect right in interpretation to assume that the language 
denotes a sequence of apparent causation. 

That the justice and honor of God forbid a sequence of 
real causation in the case of Adam, has, I think, l)een shown, 
and will more fully be shown. The inference is self-evident. 


TO E M . 5 : 12—19. 

I COME now to apply the principles whicli have been 
illustrated to the passage which is the main subject of our 
present consideration. The passage in question is as fol- 
lows : "12. Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the 
w^orld, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, 
for that all have sinned. 13. (For until the law, sin was in 
the world ; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 

14. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even 
over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's 
transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 

15. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if 
through the offence of one many be dead, much more the 
grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, 
Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16. And not as 
it was by one that sinned, so is the gift. For the judgment 
was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many 
offences unto justification. 17. For if by one man's offence 
death reigned by one ; much more they which receive 
abundance of gracC;^ and of the gift of righteousness, shall 
reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18. Therefore, as by the 
offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemna- 
tion, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came 


upon all men unto justification of life. 19. For as by one 
man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by tbe 
obedience of one sball many be made righteous." 

So far as tbe relations of Adam to his race are con- 
cerned, this passage, as it stands, asserts (v. 12) that by 
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and 
so (that is, by one man) death passed upon all men, for 
that all have simied ; v. 15, through the offence of one 
the many have died ; v. 16, the judgment was by one to 
condemnation ; v. 17, by one man's offence death reigned 
by one ; v. 18, by the offence of one, judgment came upon 
all men to condemnation; v. 19, by one man's disobedi- 
ence the many were made sinners. 

Tholuck refers to Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Grotius, 
as taking the expression "all have sinned," in v. 12, to 
mean "all have been treated as sinners." He also con- 
cedes that the original words n^vrfi iau^wv may have that 
sense, and so does Professor Stuart. Storr and Bloomfield 
adopt it. Knapp also gives to the v^'ord hftuQuu (sin) the 
sense, " the guilt of sin," and Schleusner " the guilt and 
punishment of sin." These judicial senses of these words 
are still further authorized by the highest authority, as will 
appear hereafter. 

Accordingly, I shall take the expressions "all have 
sinned," v. 12, and "many were made sinners," v. 19, to 
mean " were made liable to penalty as sinners ;" and " sin," 
V. 12, to mean " liability to penalty as a sinner." Thus 
understood, these verses coincide in idea with the statement 
of verse 16, that "the judgment was by one to condemna- 
tion;" and of verse 18, that "by the offence of one judg- 
ment came upon all men to condemnation." 

It is plain also that the sinful act of Adam, and the con- 
demnation that followed it, are set forth as, in a general 


view, typical, by way of similitude and antithesis, of the 
righteousness of Christ, and of the justification of believers 

The main questions in the interpretation of this passage, 
thus viewed, are, what is the import of the condemnation 
or judgment on the human race which is said to be by the 
offence of Adam, and what is the real connection between 
Adam's sin and this condemnation or judgment ; — is it 
causative, or only typical ? 

In reply to these inquiries, I say, in view of the prin- 
ciples already set forth, that when a certain sinfiil act of 
Adam, and its sequences, condemnation and death, are set forth 
as antithetically typical of the righteousness of Christ, and its 
sequences, justification and life, there is good reason for 
insisting that the sequence in the case of Adam does not 
involve a causative power. It should clearly be regarded as 
merely typical, and not causative. Moreover, the fact that 
the sequence to the righteousness of Christ is spiritual, — that 
is, eternal life, — is no proof at all that the typical sequence 
to the sin of Adam is not natural, — that is, corporeal death, 
— in accordance with the same laws of analogy which we see 
observed in the case of bodily wounds healed by the brazen 
serpent, as a type of mental wounds healed by Christ. On 
these principles, the sequences would stand thus : As by the 
transgression of one (Adam) condemnation and natural death 
came on all naturally related to him, so by the righteous- 
ness of one (Christ) justification and eternal life came on 
all spiritually related to him. 

The passage, thus viewed, simply teaches that Adam was 
a typical person ; and that his transgression, and the events 
consequent thereon, were so arranged as to be typical 
events ; and accordingly were so ordered by God that the 
condemnation of the race to death for his offence, and its 


sequences, should, both by way of similarity and also of 
antithesis or contrast, be a striking foreshadowing of the 
justification and life of all who trust in the great Saviour, 
by whom the church was to be redeemed out of our race ; 
and that what is said to be done by Adam, or by his 
offence, to his posterity, denotes a merely typical sequence, 
and not a sequence of causation. 

Let us, then, consider more in detail the truth of these 

First, then, as to the typical character of Adam, it is 
asserted in express terms. He is said to be a type of him 
who is to come {rvnos xov fiillovToi^ ; that is, of Christ. Nor 
is this the only place, as we shall see, where this typical 
character is asserted or assumed. 

His typical character is, in this passage, developed by 
points of similarity, modified and limited by points of con- 
trast. Let us first consider the points of similarity. 

1. One point of similarity lies in the fact that in each 
case there is unity of headship in reference to those related 
to each. God might, if he had seen fit, have introduced the 
human race into tliis world by many heads. But, if he had 
done so, then it would not have foreshadowed the one great 
redeeming head of the church, who was to come. Hence he 
introduced them by one head. For this reason, Adam is 
prominently set forth as the one who is the sole head of his 
natural posterity, and thus, as a type of Christ, as the one 
who is the sole head of believers in him. On this unity of 
headship, in each case, the whole comparison turns. As by 
ONE came condemnation and death, so by ONE came justifi- 
cation and life. 

2. In each case the relations of each head were not 
"limited and national, but catholic, extending to men of all 
nations. The pride of the Jews conceived of a Messiah 


whose highest favors should be pecuharly and exclusively 
their own. As a conquering king, he was destined to exalt 
their nation above all others. This exclusive idea Paul 
rebuts by saying that, as the first Adam (the type) was 
not national in his relations, but universal, — as through 
him all men were sentenced to natural death, — so must the 
second Adam be the universal head and Saviour of all men 
of all nations who believe in him, justifying alike all who 
believe, — making, in this respect, no distinction between 
Gentile and Jew. 

3. Another point of similarity is that in each case there is 
a judicial act in consequence of what is done by each head. 
This idea enters deeply into the whole structure of the pas- 
sage, from beginning to end. The preceding discussion of 
Paul relative to the effects of the atonement of Christ had 
been judicial. Justification is a judicial act, flowing from 
something done by Christ, the antitype. So also is con- 
demnation a judicial act, flowing from something done by 
Adam, the type. The entire spirit of the passage is judi- 
cial. It speaks of acquitting and condemning, and not of 
making holy or sinful ; and, as before remarked, the judicial 
act flowing from the conduct of each head extends to all 
connected with him. Condemnation and death, flowino; 
from Adam's act, extend to all men. Justification and life, 
flowing from Christ's act, extend to all of whom he becomes 
the head by faith. There is, therefore, in each case a judi- 
cial sequence, of which the reality is asserted ; while it is of 
necessity clear that there is no efficient causation in the 
case of the type. Such are the points of similarity. 

The points of dissimilarity and contrast, by which these 
are modified and limited, are, 

1. That the action of one head was sinful ; of the other, 


398 CONFLICT OP Ages. 

2. That the judicial act in one case was just condemna- 
tion ; in the other, gracious acquittal. 

3. That in one case the result of the judicial act was the 
penalty of natural death ; in the other, the free gift of spir- 
itual and eternal life. This I shall more fully prove. 

4. That the acquittal greatly transcends in the results of 
grace the results of the condemnation, inasmuch as it justi- 
fies and confers eternal life notwithstanding many sins, 
whereas the condemnation was based on one sin and resulted 
in natural death. 

Now, if this is the true view of the passage, it decides 
nothing but this, respecting our relations to Adam, and his 
influence on the race, namely, the fact that the sentence of 
condemnation to natural death which was passed on him 
when he sinned was intended to include, and from age to 
age actually to come upon, the whole human race ; and that 
accordingly such have been, and ever will be, the sequences 
of his act of sin. But any efficient or causative power of 
Adam's act to produce such results it does not imply. For, 
as we have seen, the use of causative language in typical 
sequences by no means implies any causative power, but 
merely a sequence established by God for the sake of illus- 
tration and impression. And certainly, in the present case, 
the actual preexistent sin of the human race, each for him- 
self, is a rational ground for passing such a sentence ; but 
the single sin of the first man, a sin in which they neither 
did or could act at all, is not either a reasonable or just 
ground of such a sequence. 



I HAVE mentioned, as worthy of notice, that the judicial 
view of this passage, independently of what I have just 
said of the nature of typical sequences and the interpreta- 
tion of language applied to them, excludes the interpreta- 
tion which is so common among the New School divines 
who deny imputation, namely, that the sin of Adam ex- 
erted an influence to make all men actual sinners, or that 
all men are caused to become actual sinners in consequence 
of it. 

The Old School divines teach, that, whether the sin of 
Adam made all men actual sinners or not in fact, at all 
events, this passage does not teach that doctrine. If to any 
this seems to be a surprising and dangerous position, to such 
I would say that it is nevertheless the openly-avowed posi- 
tion of those who are in the highest repute for orthodoxy, 
and Avho consider themselves as peculiarly devoted to its 
vindication and defence. As this is a very important point, 
I will state an outline of the course of reasoning pursued by 
Prof Hodge, designing to avail myself not only of the 
weight of his authority, but of his logical and exegetical 
power, to sustain the judicial view of the passage which I 
have given, and all its legitimate consequences. 

The main scope of his argument is to prove that through- 


out tliis passage; " the very point and pith of the com 
parison " are not this, — that, as the sin of Adam was th*i 
cause of a corrupt nature in us, or of our actual sin and 
entire depravity, so the obedience of Christ is the cause of 
the restoration to us of true holiness, either in nature or in 
action; — but this, — that, as through the sin of Adam a con- 
demning sentence was passed upon all men, so, through the 
obedience of Christ, a sentence of acquittal or justification 
is passed on all who trust in him. In accordance with this 
view, he holds that in verse 12 the words " by one man sin 
entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death 
passed upon all men, for that all have sinned," do not refer 
to actual sin, or a corrupt nature, but to the great fact that 
through the sin of Adam all men were rendered liable to 
the same sentence of death which was passed on Adam. 
He thus states the different views of leading authors on this 
point : 

^'1. Many, not only of the older, but also of the modern 
commentators and theologians, understand sin here to mean 
corruption ; so Storr, Flatt, Bretschneider, &c. This 
clause, then, teaches that Adam was the cause of the cor- 
ruption of our nature, which all men have derived from him. 
2. Others, taking the word sin in its ordinary signification, 
understand the passage as teaching that Adam vms the 
cause or occasion of all meiTb s being led to commit "personal 
or actual sin, either from the force of example or circum- 
stances, or divine constitution. 3. Others understand the 
declaration that ' through Adam all men became sinners ' to 
mean that on his account all men are regarded a?id treated 
as sinner's J ^ 

He then proceeds to state the arguments against the first 
and second opinions, and in favor of the third. Against the 
first he reasons as follows : 


''1. It assigns a very unusual, if not an unexampled 
sense to the words, — the word rendered have become cor- 
rupt not occurring elsewhere with this signification. 2. It 
destroys the analogy between Christ and Adam. The 
point of the comparison is not^ ' As Adam was the source 
of corruption, so is Christ of holiness ; ' but, ' As Adam was 
the cause of our condemnation, so is Christ of our justifica- 
tion.' 3. It is inconsistent with the meaning of vs. 13, 14, 
which are designed to prove that the ground of the univer- 
sality of death is the sin or offence of Adam. 4. It would 
require us, in order to preserve any consistency in the pas- 
sage, to put an interpretation on vs. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 
which they will not bear. Although the sentiment^ there- 
fore^ is correct and scriptural^ that tee derive a corrupt 
nature from Adam^ as it is also true that Christ is the 
author of holiness, yet these are not the truths which 
Paid is here hnmediately desirous of presenting ^ 

His objections to the second view are presented in the 
form of arguments for the third. The main course of argu- 
ment I approve, but not every particular argument. 

1. The words translated ''sin,'"' and "have sinned," in 
V. 12, may, in strict accordance with scriptural usage, 
have the tense of liability to condemnation, or penalty, or 
of becoming liable to penalty, so as to be regarded and 
treated as sinners. On this point his argument is clearly 
conclusive. It is as follows : 

•' The word translated have sinned ma;y, in strict accord- 
ance with usage, be rendered have become guilty, or 
regarded and treated as sinners. Gen. 44 : 32 is in 
Greek, 'I shall have sinned ' (JiuugTi]y.a)i acxouut^, which ex- 
presses the same idea as the English version of the passage ; 
' I sliall bear the blame to my father forever,' that is, ' I 
shall always be regarded as a sinner.' The same phrase 


occurs, 43 : 9, 'Then let me bear the blame,' the precise 
idea of being regarded as a sinner ; 1 Kings 1 : 21, 'I and 
my son Solomon shall be sinners.' that is, regarded and 
counted as such. In our version, therefore, it is correctly 
rendered, ' Shall be counted offenders.' (In Greek, tooauk 
lyco y.ul, X. t. I. 'u,fmQTMloL) In Job 9 : 29, ' If I be Avicked' 
is the opposite idea to 'thou will not hold me innocent,' v. 
28, and therefore means, 'If I be condemned or regarded 
as wicked.' Indeed, there is no usage more familiar to the 
student of the Bible than one nearly identical with this. 
' He shall be clean,' ' he shall be unclean,' ' he shall be 
just,' ' he shall be wicked,' are expressions constantly 
occurring in the sense of ' he shall be so regarded and 
treated.' (See Storr's Observatimies. p. 14.) The inter- 
pretation, therefore, which has been given of these words, 
instead of being forced or unusual, is agreeable to one of 
the most common and familiar usages of scripture language. 
Even Wahl, in his Lexicon, so explains them, ' uffuQTdto), 
to bear the blame of sin, Rom. 5 : 12, coll. v. 19, ubi 
InagTMloi y.aTf-aTd(}i]i>. Ita Lxx. et ^r*?, Gen. 44 : 32.'" 

His argument on the expression were tnade sinners (v. 
19) is as follows : 

" It is in accordance with one of the most familiar of scrip- 
tural usages that the words to make sinners, are inter- 
preted as meaning to regard and treat as such. This 
interpretation, which is demanded both by the usage of the 
terms employed (see on Rom. 8 : 4) and the antithesis in 
this verse, is now almost universally adopted by all classes 
of commentators. (See Wahl's Lexicon under the word 
IfjixQi'ta.^ Thus, to make clean^ to make unclean^ to make 
righteous, to make guilty^ are the constant scriptural ex- 
pressions for regarding and treating as clean, unclean, 
righteous or unrighteous. (See on v. 12.) 


"The expressions, to make sin, and to make i^ight- 
eousness, occurring in a corresponding sense, illustrate and 
confirm this interpretation. Thus, in 2 Cor. 5 : 21, Christ 
is said to be ' made sin,' that is, regarded and treated as a 
sinner, ' that we might be made the righteousness of God in 
him,' that is, that we might be regarded and treated as 
righteous, in the sight of God, on his account. The word 
(^yAiTfar^d-ijuup^ rendered ivere m^ade, in its ground form 
signifies to place, and is often equivalent very nearly with 
the simple verb to . be. James 4:4, ' "Whosoever, there- 
fore, will be the friend of the world, is an enemy of God : ' 
see also 3:6. It also signifies to constitute in the sense 
of appoi?itiug to office, Luke 12 : 14 ; Acts 7 : 10, &c. 
&c. ; or in that oi tnaking a person or thing something. 
In this case it may be rendered simply they are. ' By one 
man's disobedience many are sinners, or are constituted 
such, or are made such.'' The idea is the same. The 
antithesis is here so plain as to be of itself decisive. ' To 
be made righteous' is, according to Prof Stuart, 'to be 
justified, pardoned, regarded and treated as righteous.' 
With what show of consistency, then, can it be denied that 
' to be made sinners,' in the opposite clause, means to be 
regarded and treated as sinners? If one part of the verse 
speaks of justification, the other must speak of condemna- 

2. In V. 12, a comparison is begun, which is resumed 
and completed in vs. 18 and 19. " It will be seen that those 
verses teach that 'judgment came Upon all men on account 
of the oifence of one man ; ' that ' on account of the disobe- 
dience of one man all were regarded as sinners.' To this 
corresponds the plain declaration of v. 16, ' We are con- 
demned for one offence.' If, then, these vei-ses express the 
same idea with v. 12, as is freely admitted by Prof Stuart 


and others, we are forced to understand verse 12 an 
teachings not the acknowledged truth that men are 
actual sinners^ but that they have beeji treated as sinners 
on account of one Tnan.^^ 

3. The connection of v. 12 with those which follow 
demands this interpretation; for vs. 13, 14 are designed 
to prove the assertion of v. 12 in the sense which is claimed, 
and are inconsistent with any other sense. 

4. It is assumed in vs. 15 — 19 that the truth of v. 12 has 
been proved, in this sense, as a proper basis of reasoning 
and illustration. 

5. " This interpretation is required by the whole scope 
of the passage and drift of the argument. The scope of the 
passage, as shown above, is to illustrate the doctrine of jus- 
tification on the ground of the righteousness of Christ, by a 
reference to the condemnation of men for the sin of Adam. 
Not only does the scope of the passage demand this view, 
but only thus can the argument of the apostle be consist- 
ently carried through. We die on account of Adam's sin, 
v. 12 ; this is true, because on no other ground can the uni- 
versality of death be accounted for (vs. 13, 14). But, if 
we all die on Adam's account, how much more shall we 
live on account of Christ (v. 15) ! Adam, indeed, brings 
upon us the evil inflicted for the first great violation of the 
covenant, but Christ saves us from all our numberless sins, 
V. 16. As, therefore, for the offence of one we are con- 
demned, so for the righteousness of one we are justified (v. 
18). As on account of the disobedience of one we are 
treated as sinners, so on account of the obedience of one we 
are treated as righteous (v. 19). The inconsistency and 
confusion consequent on attempting to carry either of the 
other interpretations through, must be obvious to any atten- 
tive reader of such attemnts." 


6. Scripture and experience confirm this intei'pretation. 

7. It accords with the views of the Jews at the time of 
the apostle and afterward. 

8. "This interpretation, so far from being the offspring 
of theological prejudice, or fondness for any special theory, 
is so obviously the true and simple meaning of the passage 
required by the context, that it has the sanction of theolo- 
gians of every grade and class of doctrine. Calvinists, 
Arminians, Lutherans, Rationalists, agree in its support. 
Thus Storr, one of the most accurate of philological inter- 
preters, explains the last words of the verse in the manner 
stated above. ' By one man all are subject to death, 
because all are regarded and treated as sinners ; that is, 
because all lie under the sentence of condemnation.' The 
phrase all have sinned (v. 12), he says, is equivalent to all 
are constituted sinners (v. 19) ; which latter expression 
he renders ' sie werden als Sunder angesehen and behan- 
delt,' that is, they were regarded and treated as sinners. 
See his Commentary on Hebrews, p. 636, 640, &c. (Flatt 
renders these vwrds in precisely the same manner.) The 
Rationalist Ammon also considers the apostle as teaching 
that on the account of the sin of Adam all men are sub- 
ject to death. (See Excursus C. to Koppe's Commentary 
on the Ep. to the Romans.) Zachariae, in his Biblische 
Theologie^ vol. vi. p. 128, has an excellent exposition of 
this whole passage. The question of the imputation of 
Adam's sin, he says, is this : ' Whether God regarded the 
act of Adam as the act of all men, or, which is the same 
thing, whether he has subjected them all to punishment on 
account of this single act.' This, he maintains, the apostle 
asserts and proves. On this verse he remarks, ' The ques- 
tion is not here immediately about the propagation of a 
corrupted nature to all m,e7i, and of the personal sins 


com/m,itted by all men^ but of imiversal guilt (Strafwiir- 
digkeit, liabilitj to punishment), in the sight of God, which 
has come upon all men ; and which Paul in the sequel does 
not rest on the personal sins of men, but only on the offence 
of one man, Adam (v. 16).' Neither the corriiptioyi of 
nature^ nor the actual sins of men and their liability on 
account of them, is either questioned or denied ; but the 
simple stateinent is, that on account of the siii of Adam, 
all m^en are treated as sinners. Zachariae, it must be 
remembered, was not a Calvinist, but one of the modern 
and moderate theologians of Gottingen. Whitby, the great 
advocate of Arminianism, says, on these words, It is not 
true that death came upon all men /or that or because all 
have sinned, (ii/e contends for the rendering in whom,.) 
For the apostle directly here asserts the contrary, namely, 
that the death and the condemnation to it, which befell all 
men, was for the sin of Adam only ; for here it is expressly 
said that by the sin of one Tnan m^any died ; that the 
sentence loas from one, and by one man sifuiing to con- 
demnation ; and that by the sin of one death reigned by 
one. Therefore, the apostle doth expressly teach us tha,t 
this death — this condemnation to it — came not upon us 
for the sin of all, but only for the sin of one ; that is, of 
that one Adam in whom all Tnen die. (1 Cor. 15 : 22.) 
Such extracts might be indefinitely multiplied from the most 
various sources. However these commentators may differ 
in other points, they almost all agree in the general idea, 
which is the sum of the whole passage, that the sin of 
Adam, and not their ow7i individual actual transgres- 
sions, is the ground and reason of the subjection of all 
7nen to the penal evils here spoken of. With what plau- 
sibility can an interpretation commanding the assent of men 
so various be ascribed to theory or philosophy, or love of a 


particular theological system ? IMay not its rejection with 
more probability be attributed, as is done by Knapp, to 
theological prejudice? Certain it is, at least, that the 
objections against it are almost exclusively of a philosophical 
or theological, rather than of an exegetical or philological 

That I do not agree with Prof Hodge in the extent of 
meaning which he assigns to the word deaths is apparent 
from -what I have previously said. On this point I shall 
soon speak more at large. But this does not affect the 
general question, whether the words sin^ to sin and to make 
sinners^ in vs. 12, 19, are to be taken in the judicial sense, 
as he asserts, or in one of the senses which he opposes. In- 
deed, many of those to Avhom he appeals as authorities in 
behalf of the judicial sense of the terms restrict the words 
die and death to natural death, in the passage in question. 
Setting aside, therefore, this point, I regard it as plain that 
Professor Hodge is right on the main question ; that is, he 
is right in holding that the words 5m, to sin and to be 
made sin7iers, in vs. 12 and 19, are to be taken, in the 
judicial sense, to denote subjection to the condemning sen- 
tence of the law violated by Adam, and a consequent lia- 
bility to death, the penalty annexed ; and that to this reference 
is had in the "judgment by one to condemnation " of v. 16, 
and the " coming of judgment upon all men to condemna- 
tion by the offence of one" of v. 18. Thus the main idea 
of the passage is simply this : as through Adam came con- 
demnation, so through Christ came justification. 

As in this particular, therefore. I stand on oLi and gen- 
erally-acknowledged ground, I do not feel that T need to 
put forth any special efforts in its defence. So clear is the 
evidence in favor of this mode of interpretation, and so ably 
has it been developed by Professor Hodge and others, that I 


do not see any present demand for a new laborer in this 

At the same time, I do not admit the existence of any- 
thing but a merely typical sequence in the case of Adam. 
Though, so far as the form of the language used is con- 
cerned, it may express a causative sequence, yet I adopt the 
same principles of interpretation as I do when it is said by 
Turretin that " a sight of the brazen serpent healed; '"' or 
by Calvin, that "it was a saving cure for those who were 
mortally wounded; " or by Edwards, that '' the people were 
saved by the brazen serpent, by looking to it; " or when the 
scripture says that sacrifices or incense atoned for sin. Such 
language describes divinely-ordained sequences, according to 
the appearance of things, and not according to such real laws 
of causation as connect justification with faith in Christ. 

And now, before I leave this part of the subject, I would 
once more call special attention to the great fact, so often 
and so clearly asserted by Professor Hodge, that, if the main 
idea of the passage is what has been stated, then it does not 
teach that " the sin of Adam was the occasion of our sins, 
for which we are condemned" (p. 202); nor ''that the 
ofience of Adam was the means of involving us in a multi- 
tude of crimes, from which Christ saves us " (p. 203) ; nor 
"that Adam's sin was the occasion of our sinning, and thus 
incurring the divine displeasure" (p. 210) ; nor " that the 
sin of Adam was the occasion of all men's being placed in 
such circumstances that they all sin, and thus incur death " 
(p. 199) ; nor " that, by being the cause of the corruption 
of their nature, it is thus indirectly the cause of their con- 
demnation " (p. 199, 200). On the other hand, such a 
mode of interpretation " destroys the analogy, and causes 
the very point and pith of the comparison to fail " (p. 185). 
" That we have corrupt natures, and are personally sinners. 


and therefore liable to other and further inflictions, is indeed 
true, but nothing to the point." (p. 185.) 

The force of the reasoning by which Prof Hodge sus- 
tains these statements I fully admit. I regard it as 
perfectly unanswerable against the idea that this passage 
teaches that the sin of Adam was the cause either of our 
actually sinning or of a corrupt nature in us. I, therefore, 
most fully concede that which is so earnestly and ably 
maintained by the highest Old School authority ; I concede 
that, though it is true that we have corrupt natures, and are 
personally sinners, and therefore liable to other and higher 
inflictions, yet these things are not asserted in this passage 
to have been caused by the sin of Adam, and that any such 
assertion would be nothing to the poiiit of the argument, but 
directly opposed to it. Moreover, I concede that leading 
scholars of all parties confirm this view. But, if these things 
are not asserted in this passage to have been caused by the 
sin of Adam, then plainly they are not asserted to have been 
caused by it at all, in any part of the word of God ; for 
there is no other passage of scripture in which it can be 
even pretended, with any show of plausibility whatever, that 
these things are asserted. It appears, then, as the final 
result of these well-sustained premises, that the doctrine 
that our depraved natures, or our sinful conduct, have been 
caused or occasioned by the sin of Adam, is not asserted in 
any part of the word of God. 

Nor is this result peculiar to the Old School Calvinists. 
It is found, at least substantially, in one section of the 
New England divines. I refer to Dr. Emmons, and 
other advocates of the scheme of divine efficiency, so 
called, wlio, with equal clearness, deny any causative power 
of Adam's act to produce either a depraved nature or 
actual sin. It is, according to them, a mere condition on 


which God suspended his decision, that he would exercise 
his power in causing sinful volitions in all men from the 
beginning of free agency. Moreover, it was God who 
caused this condition itself to occur. 

The theory of Prof. Hodge, Turretin and others of like 
views, as to the real origin of human depravity, does not in 
principle diifer from this view of Dr. Emmons. True, they 
deny God's direct efficiency in causing sinful vohtions by 
reason of Adam's sin ; but they do clearly teach that on 
that ground he creates the soul without original righteous- 
ness, and withdraws from it those divine influences which 
are essential to prevent the corruption of nature and entire 
sinfulness in action. According to each theory, therefore, 
the sin of Adam exerted a direct influence, not on his pos- 
terity, but on God. It caused him to change his mode of 
action towards new-created minds, and thus directly or 
indirectly to cause their depravity, either of action only, or 
of nature and action both. 

Moreover, the whole evidence even of this indirect influ- 
ence of Adam's sin on his posterity, through God, is derived 
solely from the sense which is attached to the word death 
in this passage. It is assumed that it does not denote 
merely natural death, but penal evils of all kinds, natural 
and spiritual, temporal and eternal. Assuming this sense 
of the word, they proceed to unfold, as above stated, how 
God inflicts the penalty in this broad sense. The grounds 
of this view claim a careful consideration. 


5: 12—19. 

That the interpretation of the word death last referred to 
— that is, as including the death of the soul — is not based 
on any sound critical grounds, can be shown with great ease. 

1. In the first place, that it is not its obvious sense is 
plain from the fact that four centuries passed away, after 
the epistle to the Romans was written, before the word was 
ever here interpreted in this broad sense. Nor was that 
sense ever adopted by the Greek church at all. Is it not to be 
supposed that the Greek fathers were capable of judging 
what was the true sense of so plain and so common a 
word, as here used by a writer of Greek ? 

2. In part of the passage natural death is plainly and 
confessedly meant, as when it is said " death reigned from 
Adam to Moses," and consistency demands the same sense 
through the passage. 

3. The facts referred to by Paul as recorded in the Old 
Testament, and on which his reasoning is based, demand 
this view. He refers to a certain typical transaction as well 
known, and assumes, as terms of comparison, certain events. 
These are recorded in Gen. ch. 2 and 3. Let us briefly 
recapitulate them. 

In Gen. 2 : 16, 17, is contained the law or rule of con- 


duct prescribed to Adam, allowing him in general to eat 
of the trees of the garden, but forbidding him to eat of the 
tree of knowledge of good and evil. The penalty threat- 
ened, in case of disobedience, was death. On the day thou 
eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. 

In Gen. 3 : 6, 7, the specific act is related by which the 
law was violated, called "the offence of one" and "one 
man' s disobedience. ' ' After Eve had taken of the fruit of the 
forbidden tree and eaten, she gave to Adam and he did eat. 
This act of Adam is pointedly characterized in Rom. 5 : 16 
as being one offence, in opposition to many offences ; and 
in vs. 15, 17, 18, 19, as the offence of the one man, whose 
grand peculiarity is, that he is the one through whom, as a 
type of the coming Messiah, God was about to introduci 
into this world the whole human race. 

In Gen. 3 : 14 — 19, is narrated the passing of the sen- 
tence on all the offenders. On the serpent eternal degra- 
dation, eternal hostility between him and his seed, and the 
woman and her seed, and final defeat, at the expense of 
incidental suffering to the Messiah. On the woman, great 
sorrow and pain in child-birth, increased dependence on man, 
need of his aid, and entire subjection to him. 

On man, a curse on the ground, rendering the support of 
life more difficult and laborious ; and finally, natural or tem- 
poral death, — "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou 

Thus, all parts of the penalty are minutely and fully 
developed, without the remotest allusion to spiritual and 
eternal death. In a transaction so plainly typical such a 
penalty would have been out of place. At all events, the 
import of the death threatened is here fixed. It denotes 
merely natural death. Besides these, no facts are on record 
as the basis of the comparison in Rom. 5 : 12 — 19. Paul 


refers, therefore, to these alone, and by reference to these 
we must interpret his language. 

It also appears that the sentence of death was intended to 
include the race. The mode of address is, as Edwards well 
remarks, as much suited to include the race as that in Gen. 
1 : 27 — 29, which enjoins on Adam and Eve fruitfulness, sub- 
jugation of the earth and rule over it, and confers on them 
vegetables for food, — a mode of address which obviously in- 
cludes the race. Moreover, all parts of the sentence, on both 
Adam and Eve, come of necessity on men of all ages. The 
curse on the ground reaches all generations ; for it began at 
once, and has extended to this day. This part of the sen- 
tence, then, was at that time denounced on all men, and 
meets them in all ages. So pains of child-birth, need of the 
aid of man, and subjection to him, come on all women in 
all ages. Finally, natural death comes on all men in all 

Hence, the words " offence " and "disobedience " refer to 
one well-known act of one man, followed by a well-known 
sentence, which sentence in its scope includes the whole 
race, and is, in fact, executed on all. Hence ''the judg- 
ment " and '' condemnation " relate to this well-known sen- 
tence and condemnation, as left on record, and the death 
referred to is natural death. In view of these facts, it is 
plain that, in making out the parallel and antithesis 
between Christ and Adam, a strict adherence to the Old 
Testament required Paul merely to say that this particu- 
lar, definite, well-known sentence came on all men in all 
ages ; for the passage in Genesis actually means no more. 
Hence his language ought not to be made to mean more, in 
Rom. 5 : 12 — 19, than is involved in the facts to which he 
refers. We ought to interpret "death " in Romans by the 
sentence in Genesis ; and this says nothing of spiritual and 


eternal death. It refers to temporal death, and that only. 
The words are, " Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou 

The main argument for the extended sense of death (that 
is, all kinds and degrees of penal evil) is taken from the 
fact that on the other side of the antithesis life is taken in 
the full and highest sense, and not to denote natural life. 
But, as I have already abundantly shown, the type is often 
in the natural world, and the antitype in the spiritual, as 
when the brazen serpent healed bodily wounds caused by 
serpents, as a type of Christ's healing the mental wounds 
caused by sin and Satan ; or, as when deliverance from 
natural death by the blood of the paschal lamb typified 
deliverance from spiritual death. Indeed, the whole system 
of material types is but a carrying out of this principle. 
Hence, Edwards says, " Not only the things of the Old 
Testament are typical, for this is but one part of the typi- 
cal world. The system of created beings may be divided 
into two parts, the typical world and the antitypical world. 
The inferior and carnal, — that is, the more external and 
transitory part of the universe, that part of it that is in- 
choative, imperfect and subservient, — is typical of the 
superior spiritual and durable part of it, which is the end, 
and, as it were, the substance and consummation of the 
other. Thus the material and natural world is typical of 
the spiritual and intelligent world, or the city of God. And 
many things in the world of mankind, as to their external 
and worldly state, are typical of things pertaining to the 
city and kingdom of God." Now, if this is so, and if natu- 
ral life and death are typical of spiritual life and death, how 
appropriate, how impressive, how worthy of God, to make 
the sentencing of the whole human race to natural death 
through the offence of Adam a type, by way of antithesis, 


of the restoration of spiritual and eternal life, the justifi- 
cation of all who believe in Christ ! 

In addition to this, it is clear, from 1 Cor. 15, that Paul 
elsewhere looks on the sentence as denoting simply natural 
death, and does not take the more comprehensive view. 
'' For since bj man came death, by man came also the 
resurrection of the dead. For as through Adam all die, 
even so through Christ shall all be made alive." It is, 
then, in perfect accordance with his habits of thought, that 
Paul should in Romans also regard the sentence which 
came through Adam as a sentence of natural death. There 
is, therefore, in view of all that has been said, nothing 
arbitrary or forced, or against the general practice of the 
Scriptures, in this view. On the other hand, it is in perfect 
accordance with the nature of things and the general prac- 
tice of the Holy Spirit It is mierely a case of illustrating 
spiritual things by things natural and material ; and need I 
say that this pervades the Bible ? Natural health and life 
and light on the one hand, and disease and death and dark- 
ness on the other, are the standing scriptural illustrations 
of spiritual health, life, light, or spiritual disease, death and 
darkness. Nay, what is the whole Mosaic system of mate- 
rial types, but a carrying out of this principle ? 

If, then, as we have shown, the facts of the Old Testa- 
ment demand this view, — if in a part of the passage the word 
death clearly denotes natural death, — if this sense accords 
with Paul's known habits of thought, and the prevailing 
usage of the Bible in such cases, — there can be no doubt that 
the view which I defend is true and unanswerable. 

The passage, therefore, teaches nothing but the pronounc- 
ing of a sentence of condemnation to natural death on all 
men, through the sin of Adam, as a type and illustration, 


both by similitude and antithesis, of justification and life 
eternal through the righteousness of Christ. 

To complete this view, however, it is necessary to 
repeat the statement which I have already made, that, even 
as it respects natural death, the sin of Adam exerted no 
causative power to effect the condemnation of his race. It 
did not involve them in any real guilt whatever, I admit, 
indeed, without hesitation, that the established sequence of 
condemnation and death on all men, from the one sin of the 
one man Adam, is set forth in forms of language exactly 
like those which denote the sequence of justification and 
life from Christ, in whose acts there Avas causative power. 
Nevertheless, I hold, on grounds already stated, that, accord- 
ing to the laws of typical language, the sequence in one 
case is merely typical and illustrative, and not causative ; 
in the other, it is antitypical and causative. Adam no more 
brought real guilt on his posterity than the brazen serpent 
really healed those who looked at it, or sacrifices really 
made atonement. 

It is perfectly plain that, so long as the great laws of lan- 
guage, which I have developed as pervading the Bible, and 
the common usage of all interpreters and divines remain, it 
is impossible to overthrow this position. For, if the strong- 
est forms of language that can be used to denote causative 
sequences are, as I have shown, abundantly applied to 
denote sequences in which there is confessedly no causative 
power at all, and if this is eminently so in typical 
sequences, then plainly in the case of Adam, who is ex- 
pressly declared to be a type of Christ, no causative power 
can be proved by any mere forms of language, however 
strong. They are not and cannot be stronger than those 
forms which are applied to typical sequences in other 
cases, in which there is no causation whatever. 


I am now prepared to advance another step, and to say 
that, even if the words sl?v, to sm, and to w>ake sinners, 
in vs. 12 and 19, were to be taken in the sense claimed by 
the New School divines, or others, as referring to actual 
sin or a corrupt nature, still, even so, it would be impos- 
sible to prove by this passage that the sin of Adam exerted 
any causative power to produce sin or a corrupt nature in 
his posterity. For, as I have shown, even in that case we 
are abundantly authorized to interpret all the language of 
causation as denoting merely a typical sequence of a cor- 
rupt nature, or of sin and death after Adam's sin ; a 
sequence devoid of causative power, and established by God 
for the sake of illustrating the sequence of holiness, and 
spiritual life from Christ's obedience, — a sequence in which 
there is causative power. 

Moreover, the just power of God to establish such typi- 
cal sequences, on the system which I advocate, would origi- 
nate from the fact that, in bringing into this world beings 
already depraved, that from among them he might redeem 
his church, he had a perfect right to introduce them, as he 
did, by one man, and through him to establish such a 
sequence of sin, and death in connection with his trans- 
gression, as should by its typical power foreshadow and 
predict the coming of that great ONE by whom the church 
was to be redeemed. As to the principle of interpretation 
involved, it matters not whether the sequence be as it is set 
forth by the Old School divines or by the New. 

At the same time, to my mind it is perfectly clear that 
the real sequences are these : that through the sin of Adam 
all men were condemned to natural death, as a type of the 
justification of the church and her restoration to eternal life, 
through the obedience of Christ. 

This great antithetic comparison lies at the basis of the 


whole passage. It is, however, as we have seen, modified 
and rendered more striking by the apostle, in some respects, 
bj pointing out certain particulars in which the antitype 
greatly transcends the foreshadowings of the type, in its 
inestimable gifts of grace and glory. 



Thus much, then, I think is clear, — that, so long as the 
great scriptural laws of typical interpretation stand, no man 
can be, with any propriety, condemned or censured for 
understanding this passage in the sense which I have set 
forth. Nor is this all. Reasons of great power exist for 
its general adoption. Every form of the common view I 
have shown to imply injustice and dishonor in God. On 
the other hand, the whole view which we have taken of this 
passage is deeply impressive, highly instructive, and in all 
respects honorable to God. It is also in full accordance 
with the spirit and practice of the inspired writers. This 
will more plainly appear, if we now present this type in its 
relations to the other early types with which it is con- 

All of the events connected with the origin of this world 
are by the inspired writers treated as types, looking for- 
ward to the ultimate and glorious results of a new-created 
moral system about to be produced by means of the natural 
creation, and at the same time indicating the character of 
the materials out of which that moral system should be 

The earth without form and void, and the darkness upon 
the face of the deep, are employed by the apostle Paul (2 


Cor. 4 : 6) to symbolize the condition of disordered and 
darkened minds such as those out of which a new creation 
was to spring. As the spirit broods upon the abyss, and 
the light beams forth at the word of God, we see shadowed 
forth His action on the mass of ruined minds, and the truth 
by which He operates. The harmony and beauty of the 
completed natural creation strikingly symbolized the higher 
symmetry and beauty of the new creation in the moral 
world, — the new heavens and new earth, in comparison with 
which the first shall not be remembered or called to mind. 
(Is. 65 : 17, 18.) So, also, the formation of woman from 
man typified the formation of the church from Christ ; her 
union to Adam, the marriage of the church to Christ ; their 
exaltation to the head of this natural system, the exaltation 
of Christ and the church to the head of the universe. All 
this the Bible plainly tells us. (Eph. 5 : 23—33. Rev. 
3 : 21. Rom. 8 : 17, 29.) (See note, p. 423.) 

Suppose, now, that in a preexistent state sin had entered 
and a hostile kingdom had been established, and God cre- 
ated this world in order to take out of that kingdom by 
regeneration and atonement his church, and to destroy the 
remainder, — how appropriate so to introduce the fallen race 
into this world as to shadow forth their ruined state and the 
great Redeemer of the church, — the great destroyer of 
Satan ! 

They are already under sentence of condemnation, but he 
is to acquit and save the church, and he is one. To typify 
these things by similitude and antithesis, Adam, the head 
of the race, is one; he sins, and a condemning sentence of 
natural death passes on all his race. At last, the second 
Adam appears ; he is one ; he perfectly obeys even unto 
death, and by his obedience and death a gracious act of 
pardon and eternal life come to all connected with him by 


faith. What more appropriate, what in more perfect harmony 
with the whole of the connected system of types, than this 
view ? In particular the types of the natural creation, even 
before Adam had been created or sinned, clearly indicate 
the idea of ruin, already caused, to be repaired ; disorder 
and confusion, already existing, to be restored to order 
and symmetry ; a moral kingdom to be created out of the 
elements of chaos. According to the view now given, the 
same idea is carried out in the transactions in Eden. By 
the sentence of temporal death through Adam, is typically 
indicated the fallen condition of the materials of the future 
race ; but it is so indicated as to point the eye to a coming 
Redeemer, by whom unnumbered millions shall be restored. 
Thus we no longer seem to open the history of earth in the 
grave-yard of a newly-fallen world, but to hear a voice from 
heaven proclaiming aloud, " Millions of souls already fallen 
shall rise to endless life, and the reign of confusion and 
death shall end. A great . deliverer shall come, through 
whom unnumbered hosts of the fallen shall be justified, and 
raised to reign on thrones of glory in everlasting life. 
This system shall add no new sinner to the universe, but 
millions already fallen it shall restore, and of those 
who remain unreclaimed it shall forever destroy the malig- 
nant power." 

The foundation, then, of all the fatal errors which have 
sprung out of this passage, is the assigning to the word 
death a spiritual sense, and giving a causative power to a 
typical sequence, designed merely to illustrate and enforce 
truths already evolved and established, and not to be the 
foundation of an immense system of scholastic theology. 

The depravity of the human race Paul had already fully 
and abundantly proved by its own appropriate evidence, 


and the great system of justification by faith in the Saviour 
he had fully unfolded and established. 

Enraptured with its glory, the thought strikes his mind, 
that, even in the darkest hour, this glorious consummation 
was fully before the divine mind, and was most strikingly 
foreshadowed even in the opening scene of the great drama. 
Through one man a condemning sentence fell on the whole 
human race, and has ever since gone into execution, from 
age to age. In all lands and over all generations death has 
reigned. So, in glorious antithesis, through one has a sen- 
tence of acquittal come to all who believe, and a free gift of 
divine grace abounding to eternal life. For one oflfence 
that sentence came and death reigned, but by this grace 
offences innumerable are forgiven and endless life is restored. 

All this is merely the amplification and enforcement of 
striking truths by typical illustration. It is the very 
genius and spirit of Paul. This part of the system he pene- 
trated more deeply and illustrated more fully than any of 
the sacred writers. 

Does any one ask for another example in which Paul 
attempts to illustrate and enforce a logical argument by 
typical illustration 7 Turn to his epistle to the Galatians. 
In ch. 3 and 4 he argues at length the great question of 
justification by faith, and the release of Christians from the 
Mosaic law ; and, having proved his points logically, he 
illustrates and enforces by a type, taken from two wives of 
Abraham, — one bond, the other free, — and their two sons, 
the bondage of the system of Moses and the freedom of the 
system of Christ. In his epistle to the Corinthians and 
Ephesians, and especially to the Hebrews, he brings out 
from his full stores abundant illustrations of this kind ; so 
that nothing can be more after the manner of Paul than to 
illustrate in this way. 


And, noWj there is need of no force, no violence ; all ig 
free, natural and easy, if we interpret the passage in this 
way. Even without a very powerful reason in the nature 
of things, this mode of interpretation would commend itself 
as the most suitable and natural ; for it grows directly out 
of the facts of the case, and out of the spirit of Paul. 

But, when we look at the moral aspects of the case, the 
evidence is augmented beyond all estimation. If the charac- 
ter of God is of any value, if the division of the human 
mind and of society against God and itself is any evil, and 
if its perfect harmony with God is at all to be desired, then 
are we not authorized and required utterly to reject an in- 
terpretation at war with every principle of honor and right, 
and to adopt one that removes every dark cloud from the 
character of God, presents him in his true glory, and pre- 
pares the way for a full reunion of the human race to him 
in sweet and unmingled love 7 

Note on page 420. — Compare these passages witli the remarks in the 
last chapter on Heb. 2 : 7—9. 1 Cor. 15 : 27, 28. Eph. 1 : 22, 23. 



By reviewing the argument thus far, it will be seen that 
the state of the case is this : That, according to the princi- 
ples of equity and honor, the assumption that the sinfulness 
and ruined condition of the human race were caused by the 
sin of Adam is liable to unanswerable objections ; that it 
has held its ground only by the force of a supposed assertion 
of God ; but that, on closer examination, it appears that 
there is no evidence that God has ever made such an asser- 
tion. Of course, the assumption is left defenceless, to en- 
counter the full weight of the reprobation of the principles 
which it outrages, and to perish before them. 

But there may be those whose associations have so long 
connected a causative significance with the language concern- 
ing Adam, that they cannot at once reduce it to a mere de- 
scription of the appearance of things, as presented by a typical 
sequence designed for an illustration and foreshadowing of the 
coming Messiah. They may even be affected by it as if it 
were a kind of irreverent treatment of the word of God, 
adapted to enervate its force and empty it of its meaning. 

If any feel thus, it can be only because they have with- 
out reason based too great consequences on these words, and 
have never been accustomed to notice how very common 
and how highly approved is this very mode of interpretation 


with reference to the language applied to other types. I 
will illustrate my meaning by a single case. We will sup- 
pose that things had taken such a course that a doctrine 
which was regarded of fundamental moment had been 
formed concerning Melchisedec, purporting that he was not 
a mortal, but a self-existent and eternal person. We will 
also suppose that on this doctrine great practical questions 

Here great consequences would depend upon an unsure 
basis ; and yet, so far as words are concerned, no doctrine 
admits of easier and more irresistible proof Is it not ex- 
pressly said of him (Heb. 7 : 3) that he is " without father, 
without mother, without genealogy, having neither begin- 
ning of days nor end of life, but abiding a priest forever, 
like unto the Son of God "7 Is he not, v. 8, contrasted 
with men who receive tithes and yet die^ as being one of 
whom it is witnessed that he Uveth ? What can be 
stronger than this language, so far as the form is concerned 7 
And yet, the large majority of the most judicious comment- 
ators hold that he was a mortal man, who had a father and 
a mother, and was born and lived and died like other men. 

On what principles, then, do they interpret this language, 
so strong and so definite, so as to consist with these views 7 
They adopt this principle, — that, since Melchisedec was a 
type of the coming Messiah, the language of Paul concern- 
ing him is to be interpreted as having reference to the 
aj)pearance of things ^ as providentially ordered. It was 
so ordered that there is on record no account of the parents, 
birth, genealogy, life or death, of Melchisedec. As wo 
look at the picture of him presented by the scripture, none 
of these things appear on the canvas, and therefore as a 
type he is spoken of as without them. This is but one in- 
stance of the great law, that, in speaking of a large part of 


the types of the Bible, we regard merely the appearance of 
things, and speak accordingly. Even if this view of the 
statements of Paul is regarded by any as not correct in the 
particular case of Melchisedec, it yet shows how clearly 
the great body of interpreters recognize the truth of the 
law itself Calvin, in his notes on Heb. 7: 3, states the 
principles of interpretation in this case with his usual 
brevity and felicity. " No doubt Melchisedec had parents ; 
but Paul is not here looking at him as a private indi- 
vidual, but as representing Christ. Therefore he allows 
himself to see nothing in him except what is recorded in 
the scripture. And, since the Holy Spirit introduces a most 
distinguished king of that age, and says nothing concerning 
his birth, and afterwards made no record of his death, 
is it not, as it were, a figurative exhibition of his 
eternal existence? But that which was thus shadowed 
forth by Melchisedec exists in reality in Christ. There- 
fore we should content ourselves with this common-sense 
view, — that, whilst the scripture represents Melchisedec to 
us as if it were delineating in a picture one who was never 
born and never died, it implies that Christ has in reality 
neither beginning nor end of existence. Here Melchisedec 
is not considered in his private and personal character, but 
only as a sacred type of Christ." He repeats the same 
principles with reference to verse 8. 

Barnes, in his notes, clearly sets forth and defends simi- 
lar principles of interpretation. "There was no record 
made of the name either of his father, his mother, or any 
of his posterity. He stood alone. It is simply said that 
such a man came out to meet Abraham, and that is the 
first and the last that we hear of him and of his family." 
Of the expression, " having neither beginning of days nor 
end of life," he says, "The obvious meaning of the phrase 


is, that in the records of Moses neither the beginning nor 
the close of his life is mentioned. It is not said when he 
was born, or when he died ; nor that he loas born, or that 
he died.'" Further, he sajs that these facts would lead 
those who should read Psalm 110 "to the conclusion that 
the Messiah was to resemble Melchisedec hi some such 
points as these?'' On v. 8, in which Melchisedec is con- 
trasted with priests who die, as one ' • of whom it is wit- 
nessed that he liveth," he says. '• the fair and obvious 
meaning is, that all the record we have of Melchisedec is, 
that he loas alive ; or, as Grotius says, the record is merely 
that he lived. We have no mention of his death. From 
anything that the record shows, it might appear that he 
continued to live on, and did not die.'' Others, as 
Kuinoel, refer the assertions of the passage rather to the 
origin and close of the priestly life of Melchisedec, as left 
without record ; but still they retain the same general prin- 
ciple, that the apostle, in speaking of the typical appearance 
of things, uses language which is expressive of the reality 
of the things represented. Indeed, all who hold that Mel- 
chisedec was a man, who was born, lived and died, as 
other men, as Stuart, Bloomfield, Macknight, Rosenmiil- 
ler, Scott, Henry, Doddridge, and, indeed, the great body of 
commentators, are obliged to occupy this ground. Of this 
opinion concerning Melchisedec, Stuart says that it "lies 
upon the face of the sacred record in Gen. 14 and in Ileb. 
7 ; and it is the only one which can be defended on any 
tolerable grounds of interpretation." 

Notice now the streno-th of this case. How clear is the 
verbal statement that Melchisedec had neither father nor 
mother, neither beginning of days nor end of life ; and that, 
in contrast with dying men, he liveth and abideth a priest 
continually. Yet, as he was a type, the main body of com- 


mentators agree that he was a mere mortal man, who was 
born and died like all others; and that the language is 
taken from and designed to set forth merely the typical 
appearance of the recorded events of his Hfe, so as to illus- 
trate the great antitype whom God by these providential 
arrangements in that early age foreshadowed. 

In this case we have, although in another form, a striking 
illustration and confirmation of the great principle that sus- 
tains my exposition of the passage in Romans. It is that, 
in speaking of typical sequences as if they were causative, 
we speak according to the appearance of things. On the 
same principle we speak of Melchisedec. Hence it is 
evident that the same principle is at the bottom ot this 
mode of speaking which I have set forth as underlying 
other types, and which all men recognize in their common 
modes of speech. We have seen how strongly numerous 
writers have asserted that the brazen serpent healed those 
who looked at it. Yet, in fact, it did not heal them at all ; 
it only appeared so to do. Their language, therefore, ex- 
presses the typical appearance of the case, as if it were a 
reality. It expresses a sequence of apparent causation, as 
if it were real causation. The same is true in those numer- 
ous cases where sacrifices are said to make atonement for 
sins. So. also, in the case of Adam. 

Do I, then, evacuate the language concerning Adam of its 
proper and scriptural force, when I apply to it this same 
all-pervading and divinely-sanctioned principle ? Do I not 
rather restore it, from a very injurious perversion, to its 
proper and scriptural sense 7 Do I not again bring it into 
a true harmony with the general analogy of the word of 

Nor on this ground will the language lose its proper 
power and influence on the human mind. I'he typical sys- 


tern of the Old Testament, bj its appeals to the imagination, 
by its illustrative power, and by its prophetic significance, is 
peculiarly adapted to interest and affect the mind. All ex- 
perience shows it. Place this passage on the same ground 
with the sacrifices, the brazen serpent, and other types, and 
exclude from it all necessity of solving any absurd and im- 
possible problem in morals, metaphysics or natural genera- 
tion, — remove from it those dark shadows of injustice which 
hang over it as it is commonly understood, — let it stand 
simply as an early sublime and beautiful type of the coming 
Messiah, — and it will have a joyous fulness of meaning, and 
exert a thrilling moral power unknown and unimagined 
before. No dense clouds of injustice will darken the 
character of God, and involve the universe in lurid shades ; 
but the sun of righteousness will be seen, in full-orbed glory, 
pouring upon this dark world the refulgent rays of divine 
wisdom and of redeeming grace ! 



The training of the mind which fits for typical interpre- 
tation has of late very extensively fallen out of use. It 
may be a reaction caused by previous indiscretion and 
excess. Yet, whatever its cause, it is an evil. It unfits us 
for understanding Paul. Though he was a logician, he was 
not a mere logician. He had an imagination also, and this 
he used in vividly representing to himself the typical pic- 
tures of the Old Testament. Upon these he gazed with 
delight, just as we gaze on a picture, a statue, or any other 
finished product of the fine arts. But his feelings were 
deeper than any that such products of human skill can 
cause ; for he saw in these pictures the products of divine 
skill and foreknowledge, reflecting light even from amid the 
darkness of the remotest antiquity upon those glorious pur- 
poses of redeeming love, the magnitude and glory of which 
filled, enraptured and overwhelmed, his soul. These great 
purposes he developed on appropriate occasions by intellect- 
ual processes which will bear the scrutiny of the keenest 
logical analysis. Hence Paul has ever been the favorite of 
logical, generalizing, systematizing minds. 

But, when he undertook to pour the illuminating power of 
his imagination upon these great truths by means of typi- 
cal pictures, it was a process of entirely another kind. 


Such pictures were not made for logical analysis, but to be 
gazed upon as a whole, and as merely illustrative pictures. 
True it is that Paul reasons from these pictures. He did 
so in the case of Melchisedec ; but he reasons from them as 
from pictures. He reasons that that which, viewed as a 
divine combination of acts or events, they foreshadow, must 
exist, more fully and perfectly developed, in the antitype. 
Calvin, in a happy hour, clearly saw and distinctly announced 
these principles in the case of Melchisedec ; but they are 
no less true and important in all similar cases. If any man, 
then, would be a good interpreter of Paul, he must be able 
to conceive of and to reproduce in himself the apostle's men- 
tal habits, with reference to typical illustrations. He must 
learn to look upon the Old Testament as Paul looked upon 
it, and to reproduce in imagination all its scenes and parts 
as he reproduced them. Nor must he, as some do, in a 
patronizing way defend and excuse it, as the result of his 
Rabbinical training, and fitted, perhaps, to benefit the Jews, 
although to us, properly enough, it seems strange and un- 
worthy of the serious notice of the logical minds of the emi- 
nent scholars of the present age. Why should this par- 
ticular mode of exercising the imagination be despised as 
visionary and devoid of solidity, simply because it cannot be 
reduced to the categories and syllogisms of Aristotle ? Has 
the European world in general come to the conclusion that 
similes, and metaphors, and comparisons, and other rhetori- 
cal figures, for purposes of illustration and impression, are 
of no practical utility ; and that they are unworthy of the 
notice of logical minds, because they cannot be analyzed, 
and stated in syllogistic form? Why, then, should that 
exercise of the imagination by types, which inspiration has 
peculiarly honored and sanctioned, be singled out for rejec- 
tion and contempt ? On this subject there must be a reac- 


tion. Indeed, it has begun; for Olshansen has well 
remarked, that "the elements of forgotten typology are 
becoming more and more recognized, and cannot, consist- 
ently with truly historical exposition, be overlooked in the 
New Testament." 

Moreover, in the able work of Fairbairn, — in my opinion 
the ablest of the age on this topic, — we see some of the 
mature results of this reactionary movement, caused, I can- 
not doubt, by the returning influences of the divine spirit, 
after the great continental apostasy. 

The great thing, in a true interpretation of the passage 
under consideration, if we would sympathetically feel the 
force of all its parts, is, to reproduce in our minds the typi- 
cal picture, upon which Paul gazed as he wrote, and in 
which he saw foreshadowed the coming of the second Adam, 
the great Redeemer of the human race. We shall then be 
able to feel the force of the passage, even in its minutest 
details. Let us, then, as completely as in the case of Mel- 
chisedec, divest ourselves of the idea that we are approach- 
ing the solution of any mere logical problem, and arouse 
our imaginations to gaze upon the scenes and persons of 
past ages, as they rose before the mind of the inspired 
apostle. Having surveyed these, then let us turn and in 
the light of them read his words. 

The fundamental fact which seems to have risen before 
the eye of the apostle was, that death entered this world 
not as an event natural and necessary to man, but as a 
penalty inflicted by the decision of a judge, in view of a 
violated law. The sentence still stood recorded on the 
sacred page. He saw accordingly the great ancestor of the 
human race, as a condemned criminal, yielding himself up to 
the sentence of death. ''Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt 
thou return." 


In this, however, there was nothing to excite surprise; for 
he had, by a definite act, violated a law clearly revealed, 
and sanctioned in his hearing with the penalty of death. 

But of none of his descendants was it true that they had 
in person violated the same law that Adam did, or any 
other of the same kind and sanctioned by the same penalty. 
Why, then, should the same sentence of death be inflicted 
on them 7 They had not sinned after the similitude of his 
transgression ; — why, then, should they endure the same 
penalty ? 

Once more, then, he looks at the sentence in all its parts. 
The evils of all kinds therein denounced he sees coming 
ever since on all men. The form of the language is as 
much adapted to include all men as God's first address to 
the new-created pair, which was obviously meant for all 
men. What reason, then, is there to doubt that the sen- 
tence of death was designed to include all men ] There '.^ 
none. It is plain that when Adam was sentenced to death 
all men were sentenced with him, and through his offence. 
It is plain that by the offence of one man judgment came 
upon all men to condemnation. Plainly, then, the aspect 
of the whole transaction was as if all men were held guilty 
of Adam's sin, and punished for it. This is the great typi- 
cal picture before his mind, and according to this aspect of 
the case he speaks. 

But, lo ! on the other hand, he sees a glorious, a divine 
personage in human form ; in the midst of trials and tempt- 
ations of the utmost intensity, he still is faithful to God. 
He is still obedient, yea, even unto death, the death of 
the cross. Around him he sees gathered a multitude which 
no man can number, of every age and clime. With him 
they are one by a new life, — ihe life of faith. Through 
this faith they apprehend and receive the pardon even of 


the greatest sins, and the merits of his obedience in the 
infinite and gracious rewards of endless life. This, then, is 
the second Adam ; and now his all-embracing thought is, as 
all who sustained a material connection with the first Adam 
were through his disobedience condemned and sentenced 
to death, so through the second Adam all who sustain a 
spiritual connection with him shall be pardoned and restored 
to endless life. 

But, now, lest any Judaizing opponent should suggest 
that the law of Moses is the ground of the alleged condem- 
nation, he looks upon the picture again, and sees a long 
interval during which it did not exist. He sees, moreover, 
that during this long period there was no law like that of 
Adam, sanctioned by the same penalty, which had been vio- 
lated by man, and yet sentence of death came upon them 
all. It must, therefore, have come, as before stated, through 
the offence of Adam, and the sentence then passed. 

The sense of the whole passage I will now endeavor to 
set forth in a paraphrase, remarking that I shall substi- 
tute for sl7i, sinned, &c., in vs. 12, 19, what has previously 
been proved to be their sense, — that is, liability to punish- 
ment or a state of condemnation, — and also complete the 
comparison in v. 12. 

12. Wherefore as by one man that universal subjection 
to a condemning sentence for sin, under which men now are, 
was introduced into the world, and death thereby as the 
threatened penalty, and thus through one man death passed 
upon all, because through him all were involved in a com- 
mon condemnation as sinners, even so are all who believe 
justified and restored to eternal life through Christ. 

13. It is of no avail to suggest that this state of condem- 
nation has not arisen from the oifence of Adam, but from 
the violation of the law of Moses by each man personally ; 


for it existed in the world before that law was given, and 
such liability to punishment could not be ascribed to men 
whilst the law was not in existence on which it depended. 

14. And yet death reigned over all men from Adam to 
Moses ; even although they had not, as was the case with 
Adam, personally broken that original law which threatened 
this death as its penalty, or any other like it. It is plain, 
therefore, that the sentence condemning them to death did 
come on all men through the transgression of that one man, 
Adam, who is the type of the coming Redeemer. 

15. But how great is the disparity and contrast between 
the results of the offence of Adam and the gracious interposi- 
tion of Christ ; for, if through the offence of one man the 
multitudes of the human race have been sentenced to so 
great an evil as death, much more have the forgiving love 
of God, and the gracious gifts resulting therefrom through 
the one man Jesus Christ, abounded unto the multitudes 
of the redeemed. 

16. There is also another dissimilitude between the trans- 
actions in the case of Adam's sin and the free gift of Christ : 
for the condemning sentence took its rise from one offence, 
and resulted in condemnation, — but the free gift has respect 
to many offences, and results in justification. 

17. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, 
much more shall they who receive abundance of grace and 
of the gift of righteousness reign in life by one, Jesus 

18. Therefore, to resume the general view with which I 
began, and which I have in some respects modified and 
limited, — as by the offence of one judgment came upon all 
men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one 
the free gift came upon all who believe, unto justification of 


19. For as by the disobedience of one man many -were 
subjected to a condemning sentence, so by the obedience of 
one shall many be justified. 

It will be seen that in verse 12 I make the word laiv 
refer in both instances to the Mosaic law. Any one can see 
that the last clause of the verse can be properly translated 
"liability to ^punishment is not imputed when the law does 
not exist," that is, before it exists. This is said on the 
supposition that the liability in question had been supposed 
to spring from a violation of the law of Moses. This would 
involve the absurdity of liability to punishment by a law 
before it exists. In accordance with this view, De Wette 
translates the words i^*^ ovjoi vouov^ ''where the law is 
not," and says that the statement of the apostle "is by no 
means a universal position," but " is spoken respecting the 
time before the law of Moses." 

It appears, also, that those " who had not sinned after the 
similitude of Adam's transgression " are not a peculiar part 
of those who lived before the law. Prof Hodge alleges 
that this is intimated by the word " even." But we 
often use that word to set forth a striking common charac- 
teristic, to be found in all of whom we speak. Thus we say 
Christ died for all men, even for his enemies, who had for- 
feited all their rights by a guilty rebellion. So, although 
not one of those who lived from Adam to Moses had ever 
sinned as Adam did, still death reigned even over them. 
So the passage was understood by Chrysostom, when he 
said that " all men were subjected by Adam to death, 
although they did not (like him) eat of the tree." 

Let it now be borne in mind that, with reference to con- 
demnation through Adam, as truly as in the case of Mel- 
chisedec, we are authorized to believe that the ground- 
work of the whole passage is typical illustration by a 


reference solely to the aspect of things as they were provi- 
dentially arranged by God to meet the eye, and not to the 
real and hidden laws of causation which lie beneath this 

If any still, through the force of old associations, do not 
fully see the propriety and impressiveness of a contrast 
between natural death on one side, and spiritual life on 
the other, let them look at such comparisons as these : 

Aa by the brazen serpent a healing power was exerted 
on all who looked to it, so by Christ is a divine energy 
exerted to heal all who look to him. 

Yet let it not be supposed that there is a perfect cor- 
respondence in the two cases. For, if the healing power of 
the serpent revealed itself in delivering sinners from natu- 
ral death, who merely looked to it by the bodily eye, how 
much more shall the healing power of Christ reveal itself, 
in averting eternal death and conferring eternal life on 
all who, in true faith, look to him by the eye of the 
mind ! Or thus, 

As beneath the protection of the blood sprinkled upon 
their door-posts the children of Israel took refuge, and thus 
escaped the ravages of death, even so are the true Israel 
of God defended by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ 
from the impending perils and the eternal agonies of the 
second death. 

But how unequal are the things' thus compared ! How 
small was the value or the power of the blood of the paschal 
lamb ! But, if even this could defend from impending 
death, how much more shall the blood of the divine and 
eternal Son of God, the true atoning Lamb, who taketh 
away the sin of the world, avert the higher perils of true 
believers, and exalt them to eternal life ! Or thus, 

As Aaron, by the incense which ascended from his c^n- 


ser, made atonement for those ancient rebels, whose crimes 
had excited the anger of God, and thus averted the aveng- 
ing sentence of death, even so Christ by his atonement and 
intercession is powerful in every age and clime to atone for 
rebellious man, and to avert from all in whose behalf he 
interposes the sentence of death. 

But how far beneath the great reality was the prophetic 
adumbration ! For the intervention of Aaron effected but a 
temporary deliverance from the stroke of death ; but the 
intercession of our great High Priest in heaven forever 
averts the second death, and confers eternal life on all for 
whom he intercedes. 

In all these cases the comparison proceeds from natural 
death in the type to spiritual life in the antitype. 

Indeed, the apostle Paul has given us a most striking 
typical comparison of this very kind. 

'' For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of 
a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying 
of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who 
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot unto 
God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the 
living God!" 



In the general statement of the true interpretation of the 
passage under consideration, given in the third chapter of 
this book, I adopted the view of the Old School party, that 
the sense of the passage is judicial, relating to condemna- 
tion and justification, and not to the causation of sin or 
holiness in the human race ; and also that of the Greek 
church, that the death spoken of is simply natural death. 

To these I added the position that, in the case of Adam^ 
the type, the sequence, was not causative, but merely one 
of apparent causation for typical purposes. 

The truth of the first of these positions has been rendered 
so apparent that it needs no further confirmation. But it 
■will not be useless to add some additional confirmations of 
the other two. For, although the case is at present suffi- 
ciently clear, were there no uncommon obstacles to the per- 
ception of the truth, yet, considering the power of the 
association of idi^as and of habit, and the tenacity with 
which the human mind holds on to established opinions, it 
is better to err by excess of argument than by a relative 
deficiency, — I mean a deficiency in view of the practical 
end to be gained. I shall, therefore, subjoin some addi- 
tional considerations, of no small weight. 

It will be seen that thus far I have gone upon the ground 


that it is as consistent with the laws of typical illustration 
to understand the word death to mean natural death, as it 
is to give it the broad sense which includes the whole 
penalty of the divine law. I have also assumed that it is as 
consistent with those laws to understand a merely typical 
sequence of condemnation by the sin of Adam, as to under- 
stand a causative one. Supposing these views to stand on 
equal grounds, I have argued in the first case from the facts 
of the Old Testament, and in the second from the laws of 
equity and honor, revealed by God as his own rule of con- 
duct, that we ought to understand natural death and a 
merely typical sequence to be set forth in the passage. 

But I now add that in neither case do the two modes of 
interpretation, in fact, stand on equal grounds, as I shall 
proceed to show. 

I lay down, then, the position, with reference to the first 
of the two points just mentioned, that it is more in accord- 
ance with the true laws of typical illustration that there 
should be an antithesis of natural death by Adam, and 
spiritual life by Christ, than that the idea of death should 
be carried into the spiritual and eternal sphere. For the 
great idea of the Old Testament typology is to illustrate the 
things of the eternal and spiritual sphere by the events of 
this life, and of this visible material system. 

So Paul expressly states the matter, in the ninth chapter 
of Hebrews. The system of types was " of this creation,'^ 
■xavxi]c, T^5 xrjaeto$ (v. 11). The great realities belonged to 
the invisible spiritual system. By the great law of analogy 
they were set off one against the other, as the typical and 
tlie antitypical. I do not say that the type and the anti- 
type are never in the same sphere, for occasionally they 
are. But, as a general fact, they are in difierent and ana- 
logical spheres. 


Nor has this great law escaped the notice of at least some 
of the writers on typology, though they do not seem to have 
reflected on its scope. In particular, Eairbairn, to whose 
able work I have before referred, has given a very clear 
and impressive enunciation of this law. It is the fifth of 
his series, and is thus stated : 

''Another rule of interpretation arising out of the prin- 
ciples already established, and necessary to be borne in 
mind if we would give an enlightened and consistent 
view of typical symbols and transactions, is, that due 
regard must he had to the essential difference between 
the nature of type and antitype. For as the exhibition 
of divine truth contained in the former was given on a 
lower stage, or by means only of carnal and earthly con- 
cerns, in applying the elements of truth, so taught, to the 
higher, — that is, the spiritual and heavenly concerns of Mes- 
siah's kingdom, — what bore immediate respect to the flesh in 
the one must be understood as bearing immediate respect to 
the soul in the other. — while in the one temporal interests 
only appear, their counterpart in the other must be eternal 
interests ; in short, the outward, visible, and carnal in the 
type, must in the antitype pass into the inward, spiritual 
and heavenly." 

This rule, he very properly says, enters into "the very 
vitals of the subject." He admits of only two exceptions 
to it in the New Testament, and he contends that these are 
rather apparent than real. 

Yet, notwithstanding all this, he is so fully controlled by 
the common views of the case of Adam, that he does not see 
that he extends his influence into the spiritual and eternal 
sphere as truly as that of Christ. According to his own 
rule, in the case of Adam, " temporal interests only " ought 
to appear; "their counterpart in the other (Christ) must ^^e 


eternal interests;" '' in short, the outward, visible and carnal 
in the type, must, in the antitype, pass into the inward, 
spiritual and heavenly." If we limit the sequences of 
Adam's transgression, with the Greek church, to natural 
death, then we do observe this law ; but, if we extend them 
to thfc lipiritual and eternal sphere, then we violate the law ; 
and it is a law which enters into " the very vitals of the 
subject. ^^ 

Nor is this, all : if we thus extend the idea of death, 
and give to Adam causative power, it entirely overloads the 
type, and destroys the truth of the apostle's comparison. 
The power of Adam, in the spiritual sphere, to produce 
eternal death, extends to all the race ; and, when we reflect 
that, thus far, Christ being judge, the great majority have, in 
fact, perished, and that forever, the efiect of the comparison 
is that of an anti-climax. Adam has, in fact, destroyed 
more than Christ has saved ; and their ruin is as complete 
and eternal as is the salvation of those whom Christ saves. 
But, if we suppose that Adam has, in fact, ruined no one in 
the spiritual sphere, but that the sequence of death, in the 
natural sphere, upon his transgression, is a designed anti- 
thetic type of eternal life through Christ, then the anti- 
type, as it ought, towers above the type in its true spiritual 
magnitude and glory. 

In addition to this, if death is taken to mean the full and 
eternal penalty of God's law, and the sequence is causative, 
then the penalty of Adam's act is so enormously dispropor- 
tioned to its demerit, that it tends to make the contemplation 
unspeakably painful, and to confuse all our ideas of justice 
and honor. If a penalty is enormously disproportioned to 
an oflence, it loses all its power as a penalty, and produces 
reaction and disgust, if not indignation. If a king, because 
of some sin of a viceroy, of which his subjects Avcre entirely 


ignorant, should send out his armies, and exterminate, with 
extreme torments, every man, woman and child, in the prov- 
ince of that viceroy, and then should proclaim that he did 
it to show his indignation against sin, in view of its enor- 
mous evils, and his fixed purpose to punish it, what rational 
human being could be found upon whom such a proceeding 
would not react, and rather create abhorrence of the king's 
injustice, than of the viceroy's sin '^ And yet there would 
not be, in such a transaction, one millionth part of the 
horror and the injustice that is involved in the idea of an 
utter forfeiture, by all the millions of the human race, of 
the favor of God, and their exposure to his frown, and to all 
the miseries of endless damnation, by a solitary act of Adam, 
of which they had no knowledge, and over which they had 
no control, — and which forfeiture actually results in the 
endless ruin of the great majority of them. It is not in 
the power of human language to express, nor of the human 
mind to conceive, the horror and injustice of such a proceed- 
ing. What, then, must be the painful and confounding 
influence of retaining such a view, on one side of a typical 
comparison designed to set forth the glories of redeeming 
love ! How must it confuse our ideas of justice and honor ! 
How dark and gloomy will it render the system which rests 
upon it ! With what melancholy shades Avill this passage 
of scripture evermore be veiled ! 

But, represent this system as a remedy for evil already 
existing, let it ruin none and save unnumbered millions, 
remove from Adam the idea of power efficiently to cause 
evil at all, let the judicial sequence of natural death be 
ordained as a type to illustrate, by antithesis, eternal life 
through Christ, and I do not know any passage in the word 
of God which combines higher elements of sublimity, beauty, 
and divine glory. 


The value of a type depends, not upon the existence of 
causative power in the sequence, but upon the fact that God 
ordained it to illustrate some great and glorious truth, and 
that it does illustrate it. Hence, the sprinkling of the blood 
of the paschal lamb, the brazen serpent, the incense of 
Aaron, lose none of their value because they were not linked 
to their sequences by causative power. What though they 
did not, in reality, avert natural death ? It is enough that 
God made them appear to do it, for the sake of illustrating 
the real power of Christ to avert eternal death. So, what 
though it be true that the sin of Adam exerted no power to 
injure one individual of the human race? It is enough 
that God so arranged events that, apparently, the human 
race v»'as sentenced to natural death, through his sin, in 
order to make a great, glorious and original type of justifi- 
cation and eternal life through the coming Redeemer. In 
this way it has its legitimate influence and its full power as 
a type. But, the moment you load it down with a causative 
power to produce eternal death, you transgress the true 
laws of typical analogy, veil its radiance in the dense clouds 
of injustice, and utterly destroy its legitimate power. 

And now I cannot but feel that I have adduced sufficient 
reasons to induce all Christian men, who love the honor of 
God and the good of man more than any or all other in- 
terests, to reject the common interpretations of this passage, 
and to adopt that which I have proposed. 

I know full well the strength of the influence of Augus- 
tine, and Cfilvin, and Edwards, and of the creeds of the 
Reformation. I know the power of national churches, ^f 
great denominations, and of great teachers. 

But I know, also, that, after all, these things are but 
finite, temporary and local. God only is infinite, univerg«kl, 


eternal, all-glorious, and worthy of universal homage and 

Before him the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are 
counted as the small dust of the balance. Yea, all nations 
in his sight are as nothing, and they are counted to him as 
less than nothing, and vanity. He poureth contempt upon 
princes ; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. He 
bloweth upon them, and they wither, and the whirlwind 
taketh them away as stubble. 

The question now at issue does not so much concern the 
honor of human organizations as the true and unclouded 
glory of this great God. I have written as I have, because I 
have felt in my inmost soul, and with deep and long-con- 
tinued sorrow, that He is deeply dishonored, and the energies 
of his kingdom on earth are fatally paralyzed, by the basis 
on which his own church has placed his greatest and most 
glorious work, the divine work of redeeming love. I have 
believed, and therefore have I spoken. 

If it were seen to be so, then there would be but one 
response from every true child of God. If his honor is at 
stake, all else must give way. What are creeds, institutions 
or denominations, in comparison with him for whose honor 
they are professedly made, and for whom, alone, they avow 
a desire to exist 7 

But the great turning point of the whole question will 
be, Do they, in fact, dishonor him 7 

And now, as before him, I ask attention to the following 
considerations : 

The first, the natural, the intuitive convictions of the 
human mind, with reference to the commonly alleged deal- 
mgs of God with the human race through Adam, are, that 
they are dishonorable and unjust. 

That this is so has been confessed by men than whom 


none are more eminent for intellectual power, and for piety. 
Augustine, Calvin, Pascal and Watts, have virtually or 
openly confessed it ; Dr. Woods, Dr. Hodge and Haldane, 
have virtually or openly confessed the same. 

That they are so, in fact, I have evinced by showing that 
all efforts to explain and defend them have resulted in incon- 
sistent and mutually destructive theories, every one of which 
has been, and still is, condemned by some large portion of 
the true church of God. So true is this, that Haldane has 
declared that all such efforts have but made the case still 
worse, and that it is our duty to believe on the naked and 
unexplained word of God ; and that this must be the final 
authority in the case. 

But, in a case like this, are we to take for granted an 
interpretation involving such consequences ? Or is it, indeed, 
a self-evident interpretation 7 History does not seem to 
imply that it is self-evident, and in fact it is not so. 

I have shown, in the first place, that the view which I 
advocate is, at least, as consistent with the laws of inter- 
pretation as any other ; and that from the facts of the Old 
Testament, and from the laws of honor and right, there is a 
decided preponderance in its favor. 

I have next shown that the common interpretations arc 
opposed to the prevailing and almost universal laws of 
typical analogy ; that they overload the type, and make the 
passage untrue ; that they destroy the moral power of God's 
displeasure at Adam's sin, by exaggeration ; and that they 
imprison, suppress, and do violence to the deepest convic- 
tions of the human mind against dishonor and injustice, 
which can find no relief till they have been expressed. 

I allege that the view which I present is simple, intelli- 
gible, eloquent, sublime, beautiful, worthy of God, m 


perfect harmony with the laws of language, and, in particular, 
with the laws of typical usage. 

But, if these things are so, can any one fail to see what 
the conclusion ought to be ? 

I know that the result is momentous, but is it more than 
God deserves ? 

At all events, is it not a duty thoroughly to reconsider 
this whole question, until a position can be found that shall 
so present the great work of redeeming love as not to reflect 
deep dishonor on the character of God? 



In the opening chapter of this book I remarked that 
practically the whole of the present discussion turns more 
upon the interpretation of the last part of the fifth chapter 
of Romans than upon any other point. Por, if it had not 
been for the belief that this passage teaches such a doctrine 
of forfeiture as I have considered and exposed, — a doctrine 
which, in the judgment of Pascal, appeared obviously impos- 
sible and unjust, — it could never have gained credence or 
sustained itself for a single hour ; nor would it have ever 
been believed that the sin of Adam did or could in any way 
produce the terrific depravity which has been exhibited in 
this world ever since his creation and fall. 

But, so long as it has been supposed that God has asserted 
these things, it has been felt to be a duty to overrule even 
those immutable intellectual and moral intuitions which 
he has implanted in the soul, rather than to distrust his 

The effect of this has been to paralyze the intellectual 
and moral energies of Christians to an extent of which no 
adequate conception has as yet been formed, and to reduce 
them to a state of lamentable captivity and bondage. For, 
though not in close confinement, and thus cut off from all 
action, yet they have been hemmed in by certain tremendous 


intellectual enclosures, which they have not dared to throw 
down or to pass. Moreover, whilst hemmed up Avithin these 
limits, they have, of necessity, as I have shown, rather 
expended their energy in mutual conflicts, than in assaults 
upon their great and common enemy, the god of this 

The most direct and obvious cause of this state of things 
has been the almost unanimous rejection of preexistence, the 
only principle which can give them true liberty, and unite 
their energies to bring to a speedy close this spiritual 

It is for this reason that I have felt it to be indispensable 
to enter as thoroughly as I have into the discussion of this 
passage, for the sake of developing its true meaning, and of 
showing that it does not, as is asserted, exclude preexistence, 
but rather presupposes and requires it. 

But, now, that old and terrific apparition of divine author- 
ity, which has for so many ages frowned darkly before the 
church, can no longer be raised to dismay our souls, and to 
scare us back into our ancient captivity. Thank God, we 
are free ! The wide field of truth is before us, with none to 
molest us or to make us afraid ; let us arise at once, and, by 
the aid of the divine Spirit, enter and possess it. 

The way is now prepared to resume the inquiry proposed 
at the end of the last book. Shall the theory of a previous 
existence be received as true ? In reply to this, it w^as 
answered by its opponents, there is no evidence of its truth ; 
it merely shifts the difficulty, but does not remove it ; and 
't is inconsistent with the word of God. 

The last point having been considered, I shall now 

resume the other two. I made a few remarks in reply to 

them at the opening of this book, but shall now subject 

them to a more full and thorough discussion. In opposi- 



tion to preexistence, then, as I have set it forth, it is alleged 
that it is a mere theory, entirely devoid of any proof of its 

This remark is not unfrequently made in a manner •which 
seems to imply a high regard for truth and evidence, and 
a rational fear of adopting unfounded and visionary theories. 
It is sometimes, also, presented as if it were a view of the 
case so profound and exhausting that nothing more remains 
to be said. If, indeed, it were true, such might, in reality, 
be the case. But it is apparent that assertion is not argu- 
ment, and that it is no legitimate mode of terminating a 
discussion to take for granted the very point at issue. 

But I will not assume that those who make this remark 
intend thus to beg the question. I will assume that they 
mean that this is a point that can be known only by 
revelation, and that it is not definitely revealed in express 
terms in the word of God. If so, then they assume that, if 
it is not expressly and verbally revealed, it must ever be a 
theory, and admit of no decisive proof 

In reply to this, I have already briefly stated that the 
most important of all the truths which we hold cannot be 
thus, proved. 

But such is the importance of this point that it deserves 
a more formal and full consideration. I will, therefore, 
once more call attention to the real and deepest foundations 
of our religious, intellectual and moral systems, and to the 
laws of belief upon which they rest. 

The great but simple fact, then, with reference to such 
fundamental doctrines, is this : That they rest upon cer- 

Thus, since God has made us in his own image, we derive 


from our own minds the elements of our idea of a personal 
God, as a being possessing intellect, emotions and affections, 
will, the power of choosing ends, forming plans, and making 
laws, a moral nature, and a sense of what is right and 
wrong, honorable and dishonorable. We find, also, in our- 
selves an intuitive belief of the necessary relation of cause 
and effect. Thus made, we examine our own minds and 
bodies, and the world around us, and there find facts which 
rea^uire an infinite mind, such as we are enabled to conceive 
of, through our own minds, as the cause. Thus we arrive 
at a rational belief of the being of a God. In the language 
of Paul, "The invisible things of him are clearly seen, 
being understood by the things that are made, even his 
eternal power and Godhead." 

So, too, when certain books are presented to us claiming 
to be a revelation from this God, we are obliged to rely 
upon the same principles for evidence of the truth of their 
claims. We see that miracles were wrought by their 
authors, or prophecies uttered by them, or doctrines and a 
system set forth transcending the intellectual and moral 
abilities of man. Such things we refer to God as the only 
adequate cause, and believe those to be his messengers 
whose claims he attests by such evidences. Till we have 
done this, their words have no binding power over us. 

But what truths are there so important as the being of a 
God and the fact that the Bible is his word ? Are they not 
the basis of our whole system of religious belief? 

It is plain, then, that there are modes of proof besides 
express verbal revelation, and that these are the most power- 
ful and trustworthy by which the mind of man can be 
influenced. Otherwise, God would not have left the whole 
system to rest on them. 

Nor is it otherwise in the material system. We fully 


believe, without express verbal revelation, the Newtonian 
system, based on the law of gravitation. Our evidence lies 
in the structure of our minds, and in the facts of the sys- 
tem itself By the structure of our minds we are led to 
search for the law of the system, and no less are we led by 
the same structure to rest in that law which systematizes, 
harmonizes and explains, all the facts of the system, and 
unites them in one glorious whole. No text of scripture 
proves the Newtonian theory. Nay, the popular phrase- 
ology of the Bible, as well as of common speech, seems to 
oppose it. But, because it unites, explains and harmonizes 
all facts, we believe it. 

Thus, by reasoning on the great law of causation, we 
first ascend from his works to a knowledge of the great first 
cause. In the same way we establish the divine authority of 
his word, proving by various arguments that it demands 
God as its cause or author. Nor do we otherwise establish 
the law of gravitation ; for we show that all the facts of the 
system demand such a law as their cause. 

If, then, it can be sho-wn that the facts of this moral and 
physical system, taken as a whole, are such as to demand a 
preexistent state in order to explain them, as really and as 
much as the facts of the material system demand the law 
of gravitation to explain them, or as much as the facts of 
the whole system demand God as their cause, then the doc- 
trine of a preexistent state can be proved by the highest 
possible proof, — proof so clear and so strong that no intel- 
ligent being need wish to go beyond it. Let me state a 
sinojle course of reasonino;, which of itself would be all-suf- 
ficient. The laws of honor and of right are of God; nor 
has he ever violated them, nor will he. This is the premise 
of an argument powerful enough to revolutionize nations 
ani churches, and to shake a world. 


Taking, then, this premise, I allege that if the facts and 
principles which have been already set forth are true, there 
is a brief argument, entirely within our reach, and compre- 
hensible by all, which of itself is enough to settle the 
question forever. 

If the facts which have been stated concerning the ruined 
condition of man are true, and if the principles of honor and 
right have been truly set forth, and if the only passage that 
seems to teach the common doctrine can, in accordance with 
the true and well-known laws of typical language, be so in- 
terpreted as perfectly to accord with the idea of preexistence, 
and if the common theory arrays the principles of honor and 
right against the conduct of God, whilst the other exhibits 
them as in harmony, then it follows, of absolute necessity, 
that the common view is false, and that which I advocate is 
true. If the premises are granted, the conclusion is inevi- 
table ; and no argument can exceed this in power. The 
argument for the being of a God has no superior force. 
The proof that the Bible is the word of God is no more 
conclusive. The proof of the truth of the Newtonian theory 
is not more powerful, although that is regarded as estab- 
lished beyond any rational doubt. For the mind of man is 
so made that nothing can do such violence to its most 
immutable intuitive convictions as the supposition that God 
can bring to pass results such as exist in this world in a 
mode that is at war with the principles of honor and right. 
If there is a mode consistent with those principles, we know, 
with the highest and most absolute certainty, that this, and 
not the other, is the mode which God has taken. 

For my own part, I am satisfied that the premises are 
true, and that, therefore, the conclusion is valid. Nor shall 
I cease to regard this argument as perfectly conclusive till 
the premises are overthrown. But any attempt to do this 


must, I think, prove a failure. For the evidence from 
scripture, experience and history, in proof of the statement 
concerning the ruined condition of man, is of such immense 
power that it admits of no logical reply, and the only real 
argument ever urged against it has been the appeal to our 
intuitive convictions of honor and right. But the whole 
power of that argument is now neutralized by the doctrine 
of preexistence, which I have assumed. Moreover, the evi- 
dence for the principles of honor and right, which I have 
stated, from the intuitive convictions of the human mind, 
from the tendencies of regeneration and sanctification, and 
from the word of God, is powerful beyond expression, and 
can never be answered ; and the only real argument against 
them has been an allegation that they were inconsistent 
with certain well-known acts of God. But the whole power 
of this argument, also, has now been neutralized by the 
doctrine of preexistence, which I defend. And, finally, the 
interpretation of Rom. 5 : 12 — 19, which regards the 
language as denoting, in the case of Adam and his posterity, 
merely natural death, and typical sequences, and not 
causative, is not only a possible interpretation, but it is the 
one which best accords with the well-known laws of typical 
language, and with the analogy of the word of God. 

But, in addition to this, there is a strong auxiliary argu- 
ment in support of the same view in the fact that the results 
of all attempts to explain the connection between the sin 
of Adam and the ruin of his posterity have been so un- 
satisfactory as to create a violent presumption that the idea 
is in itself incapable of vindication or defence. On the 
other hand, preexistence easily explains all the facts of the 
case. I will first illustrate this statement by analogous 
cases. It was once held almost universally that the words 
" this is my body " were to be taken as denoting a literal 


truth, as set forth in the doctrine of transubstantiation. Of 
this truth, of course, the scholastic divines felt bound to 
produce a philosophical exposition and defence. The result, 
as was to be expected, was a violent distortion of philosophy 
itself, and fertile crops of absurd and ridiculous results. 
The fact is manifest. No exposition and defence of the 
dogma in question is extant, that does not lead to absurdi- 
ties. Is it not, then, a fair inference that the thing itself is 
an absurdity? In like manner, the Romish dogmas of 
sacramental regeneration and sanctification, and of the ruin 
of all who are not in the E-omish corporation, have never 
been, at any time, so expounded and defended as to avoid 
either gross absurdities or else a contradiction of most 
notorious facts and the most sacred moral principles. Now, 
though efforts have been made, and still are made, to base 
these things on scripture, is there not in history a proof that 
the things alleged are absurd in each case 7 

Now, it is worthy of notice, not only that it has been con- 
fessed in all ages that any exposition of the influence of 
Adam's sin to ruin his race is beset with most formidable 
difficulties, but that all attempts to explain it have failed so 
completely that not one can be mentioned which has not 
been pronounced false by eminent Christians in large num- 
bers. Some have resorted to the theory of the transmission 
of the corrupted soul from generation to generation. But 
this has been almost universally repudiated by the church 
in all ages, as leading to materialism, and making the sub- 
stance of the soul sinful. Moreover, if it were not so, it 
would not in the least help the case on the score of justice 
and honor. But, on the theory that God creates the soul, it 
may well be asked, Does he create a depraved and polluted 
soul ? If not, whence comes its original native depravity 1 
Does it come from the body ? What is this but to revive 


tlie pernicious Gnostic doctrine, that the origin of sin is 
matter, and that to escape from sin we must mortify, 
scourge and macerate, the body. If the body is not the 
cause, then it may be supposed to lie in God. Does he, 
then, as some teach, impute the guilt of Adam's sin to a 
new-created soul, and on account of this guilt, and as a 
punishment, create it without original righteousness, with- 
draw from it supernatural influences, and leave it a mass 
of corruption, exposed to a sinful world and to Satan ? Can 
this be defended on any known principle of honor and right? 
I have already shown that it is confessed that it cannot. No 
effort is made to do it. All who allege it retreat to the cover 
of mystery. But I am unable to see any mystery in the case. 
A new-created being thus treated is by a large portion of the 
Christian world regarded as, beyond all reasonable grounds 
of doubt, treated dishonorably and unjustly. With such I co- 
incide. Is the theory of those any better who say that the 
constitution is so changed, before knowledge or action, as in 
all cases to lead to sin as soon as moral action commences ; 
and that a being with such a constitution is then exposed 
to the full power of a sinful world and of Satan? Another 
large portion of the Christian world regard this, and very 
properly too, as no more honorable and just than the other 
alternative. Shall we, then, trace all sin and holiness alike 
to the efficient agency of God, and hold that He established 
a constitution such that if Adam sinned he would efficiently 
cause all his posterity to sin? But, on this' theory, even 
Adam could not sin, unless God caused him so to do ; and it 
results in this, — that God causes all men to sin, because He 
had previously caused Adam to sin. A very large portion 
of the Christian world regard this theory as unsatisfactory, 
and inconsistent with correct views of man's responsibility 
for his sins, and of God's sincere opposition to sin. 


Shall we, then, with Edwards, confound all ideas of 
personal identity, and insist that God made Adam and all 
his posterity one person with respect to liis first sin, and 
difierent persons vrith reference to all other sins ? Few, 
we think, will engage in so desperate an undertaking. 

Shall ;we, then, with Augustine, resort to the idea of a 
mysterious unity with Adam, and hold that all men actually 
existed in him, sinned in his act. and are guilty of it? For 
ages this view was held and defended, just as transubstan- 
tiation was, but with equal violence to the intuitive convic- 
tions of the human mind. It indicates, indeed, an admission 
of the great truth that men ought not to be punished but 
for their own acts : it led to forms of speech that seemed 
to teach that all men did in reality apostatize from God at 
once and together, — and, on this ground, they repelled 
charges of injustice ; and it implies one form of preexistence 
and action ; but in reaching this result they violated all 
laws of personal identity and distinct personal existence, 
and involved themselves in unspeakable absurdities. Au- 
gustine felt and frankly conceded the difficulties of the sub- 
ject, and at times confessed his ignorance. Luther did the 
same. So did Turretin. Moehler, after surveying all the 
solutions ever oifered, declares them utterly unsatisfactory, 
and retreats to mystery. Is there no presumption, in all 
this, that this alleged fact is incapable of vindication or 
defence ? 

Indeed, it is admitted by Prof Hodge that the whole 
difficulty lies in the mere fact alleged, and not in any par- 
ticular mode of explanation. '' It is on all hands admitted," 
he says, ' ' that the sin of Adam involved the race in ruin. 
This is the whole difficulty. How is it to be recon- 
ciled with the divine character, that the fate of unborn mil- 
lions should d{ nend on an act over which they had not the 


slightest control, and in wliicli they had no agency ? This 
difficulty presses the opponents of the doctrine (of imputa- 
tion) more heavily than its advocates." According, then, 
to Prof Hodge, the best possible ground of justifying 
God in such an arrangement is to represent him as regard- 
ing " a?i act over lohich they had not the slightest con- 
trol and in lohich theij had no agencij,''^ as being, never- 
theless, their act, and as withdrawing from them, on account 
of it, all favor, communion and divine influence, and thus 
inflicting on them " a form of death which is of all evils 
the essence and the snm.^^ Is this, then, the best mode 
of justifying God, in a case so momentous? Certainly it is 
a hard case, for to many it seems that none can be worse. 
I, however, do not regard it as the best. Nevertheless, I do 
agree with Prof. H., that all the modes resorted to by those 
who reject this are as truly and entirely unsatisfactory. 

After all, the great difficulty lies in the idea that untold 
millions of new-created minds should in any way be brought 
into being by God, for an endless existence, either with 
positively depraved natures, or natures so deranged, dis- 
ordered and ruined, as certainly to result in depravity so 
powerful that nothing but supernatural power can overcome 
it; and then, with such natures, be subjected to the highest 
power of temptation to evil through corrupt human organ- 
izations, and Satanic agency, being moreover from the very 
first abandoned by God, and under his infinite displeasure. 
This, I say, is the great difficulty ; and no reconciliation of 
this with honor and justice in God has ever been efiected, 
nor is it, in my judgment, possible to efiect it. 

But, in addition to this, the mode in which it is said to 
have been efiected by those who ascribe causative power to 
the act of Adam is obviously entirely inadequate to effect 
such a result ; as much so (or even more) as looking at a 


brazen serpent is to heal the bite of a poisonous fiery ser- 
pent. For, indeed, it is an astounding fact that is alleged 
when we say that one act, done six thousand years ago, 
rnade a whole race so wicked that their depravity defies all 
but supreme and divine power. 

Certainly the theory of baptismal regeneration, or sanctifi- 
cation by the Lord's supper, truly viewed, seems far more 
rational than the fact alleged in this case. Is it not as possible, 
and far more reasonable, that consecrated water should, by a 
divine constitution, regenerate the person whom it actually 
touches, or the consecrated wafer sanctify the person who 
eats it, than that either one act of eating, done six thousand 
years ago, or the sin of that one act, should, to this time, and 
in all future generations, have power to make the millions 
of this world, before action, so unspeakably depraved that 
without a supernatural regeneration they must all forever 
perish 7 At all events, if one sinful act of eating, at the 
beginning of the world, can by any divine constitution be 
made the cause of depravity so inconceivably great and all- 
pervading, who has a right to say that it is either absurd or 
improbable that an act of eating, attended by obedience to 
God, should in the eucharist by a divine constitution sanc- 
tify the soul and fit it for heaven? Or, even that sanctified 
water should, by a divine constitution, wash away sin, 
original and actual ? Indeed, Moehler argues, and not un- 
reasonably, from the assumed fact that man fell through a 
material system, that it is a 'priori probable that God would 
restore him through a system of material sacraments. 
Speaking of the seven sacraments, he says, " The entangle- 
ment of man with the lower world, which since Adam's dis- 
obedience hath been subjected to a curse, is revealed in the 
most diverse ways. Even so diverse are the ways (that ig^ 
the sacraments) whereby we are raised up to a world of 


a higher order in and by the fellowship with Christ." The 
design of the sacraments, he says, is, " to raise humanity 
again up to God, as through Adam it had fallen." Again 
he says, "As man ignominiously delivered himself over to 
the dominion of the lower world, so he needs its mediation 
to enable him to rise above it." Certainly it is more 
reasonable to suppose man to be raised, through a divine 
constitution, by oft-repeated and manifold material sacra- 
mental acts, than to suppose all men in all ages to be so 
deeply sunk by one act. Hence, if the whole sacramental 
system of Rome is rejected as absurd, and the very germ 
of the papal despotism, why should another theory, still less 
rational, be retained ? 

If, now, any one shall say. These things, after all, ought 
not to be said ; for they virtually concede that all which 
Pelagians, Unitarians and Infidels, have said against the 
doctrine of the fall of the human race in Adam is correct, 
and it will be received by them with triumph, and be fol- 
lowed by the renunciation of the doctrine of human deprav- 
ity, and of Christianity itself : 

To this I reply, the rejection of the common doctrine of 
the fall in Adam is not in any sense a rejection of the doc- 
trine of the native depravity and fallen condition of the 
human race in its fullest and amplest sense, nor of any doc- 
trine of Christianity resting on that basis. Nor does it 
touch the scriptural or historical or experimental argu- 
ments in favor of that doctrine, or any other doctrine of 
Christianity. If all that is said in the Bible concerning 
Adam were stricken out, still there would remain a perfectly 
full and ample proof of the doctrine of depravity, and of 
every other doctrine of the Christian system. 

Nor is this all. In all ages the strongest arguments of 
the opponents of that doctrine, and of Christianity, have been 


derived from the fact that the fall of Adam has been made 
its basis and originating cause. They have no real argu- 
ments against it ; they never have had, except such as have 
been furnished to them by thus making that an essential 
part of the doctrine which has no logical connection with it, 
and, still more, which furnishes the only real and valid 
arguments against it. 

Nothing Aveakens a cause so much as to defend it by un- 
sound arguments, and to refuse to admit the force of true 
and real arguments against it. By placing the doctrine of 
human depravity on the basis of the fall in Adam, its oppo- 
nents have been enabled to array the truth itself against it, 
yea, the highest, most sacred, and most affecting truth that 
can be seen or felt by the mind of man. That truth, with- 
out which neither the glory of God nor the sacredness of his 
government can be seen. Nay, it has led to the crippling 
and degradation of the human mind for long ages, by urging 
it to do violence to its most sacred and godlike convictions, 
by repudiating them as wretched and false. 

The doctrine of depravity is a real, a momentous, a 
mournful fact. Scripture, history. Christian experience, 
unite in its proof If it were not called on to wrestle even 
against God and the truth, by an unhappy misadjustment, 
it might stand against the world. But how can it ever 
universally prevail whilst obliged to contend with the 
sacred principles of honor and right, and to resort to theories 
indefensible and absurd I 

Whether those who have hitherto opposed this cloctrme 
will receive these concessions with triumph or otherwise, 
has no bearing on the question what is the truth. If, in 
ages past, they have, in some important respects, spoken 
the truth, and it has been rejected by the advocates of 
depravity, that is no reason why we should pei'aist in weak- 


ening our cause by doing the same. But I trust that they 
will not triumph, but receive such concessions with candor, 
and look at the real arguments in favor of the doctrine with 
more interest and care, when it is seen that it can be held 
in its fullest form, and yet conflict with no principle of 
honor and right. 

Is there any danger in making the trial of this course 1 
The other course has been tried for many long centuries. 
What has been the result? Lam^entable division and con- 
flict, and theories none of which has yet been able to satisfy 
the human mind that it is rational and consistent. 

Turn, now, from these conflicting and unsatisfactory 
attempts to the simplicity and intelligibleness of the other 
theory. It resolves original sin and native depravity into a 
well-known result of the laws of the mind, which we call 
habit. This is neither a part of the essence nor an original 
attribute of the mind. It is a permanent predisposition, or 
propensity, to a sinful course of action, caused by repeated 
previous action. The Princeton divines have clearly de- 
scribed what I mean, in rebutting the charge of teaching 
physical regeneration, which had been alleged against them- 
selves. They say : 

" The main principle, as before stated, which is assumed 
by those who make this charge, is, that we can only regard 
the soul as to its substance on the one hand, and its actions 
on the other. If, therefore, there be any change Avrought 
in the soul other than of its acts, it must bo a physical 
change. And if any tendency, eithe'r to sin or holiness, 
exist prior to choice, it is a positive existence, a real entity. 
Thus the charge of physical depravity and physical regen- 
eration is fairly made out. We are constrained to confess, 
that, if the premises are correct, the conclusions, revolting 
as they are, and afiecting, as they do, the fair names of so 


Urge a portion of the Christian church, are valid. The 
principle itself, however, we believe to be a gratuitous 
assumption. It is inconsistent with the common, and, as we 
believe, correct idea of habits^ both connatural and ac- 
quired. The word ' habit ' (habitus) was used bj the old 
writers precisely in the same sense as ' principle ' by 
President Edwards (pp. 380-1), or 'disposition' as used 
and explained by President D wight. That there are such 
habits or dispositions which can be resolved neither into 
'■ essential attributes ' nor ' acts,' we maintain to be the com- 
mon judgment of mankind. Let us take for illustration an 
instance of an acquired habit of the lowest kind, the skill of 
an artist. He has a soul with the same essential attributes 
as other men ; his body is composed of the same materials ; 
and the same law regulates the obedience of his muscular 
actions to his mind. By constant practice he has acquired 
what is usually denominated skill ; an ability to go through 
the processes of his art with greater facility, exactness and 
success, than ordinary men. Take this man while asleep or 
engaged in any indifferent occupation, — you have a soul and 
body not differing in any of their essential attributes from 
those of other men. Still there is a difference. What is 
it? Must it be either -a real existence, an entity,' an act, 
or nothing? It cannot be 'an entity,' for it is acquired, 
and it will hardly be maintained that a man can acquire a 
new essential attribute. Neither is it an act, for the man 
has his skill when it is not exercised. Yet there is cer- 
tainly ' something,' which is the ground of certainty that, 
when called to go through the peculiar business of his art, 
he will do it with an ease and rapidity impossible for com- 
mon men. It is as impossible not to admit that this 
ground or reason exists, in order to account for the effect, 
as it is not to admit the existence of the soul to account for 


its exercises. By constant practice, a state of mind and 
body has been produced adapted to secure these results, and 
which accounts for their character. But this is the defini- 
tion of j)7'inciple or habit as given above. A single cir- 
cumstance is here wanting which is found in other ' habits,' 
and that is, there is not the tendency or proneness to 
those particular acts to which this state of mind is adapted. 
This difference, however, arises not from any difference in 
the ' habits ' themselves, but from the nature of the faculties 
in which, so to speak, they inhere. A principle in the will 
(in its largest sense, including all the active powers) is not 
only a state of mind adapted to certain acts, but prone to 
produce them. This is not the case, at least to the same 
degree, with intellectual habits. Both classes, however, 
come within the definition given by President Edwards and 
Dr. D wight : ' A state of mind,' or ' foundation for any 
particular kind of exercise of the faculties of the soul.' 
The same remarks may be made with regard to habits of a 
more purely intellectttal character. A man, by devoting 
himself to any particular pursuit, gradually acquires a 
fiicility in putting forth the mental exercises which it 
requires. This implies no change of essence in the soul ; 
and it is not merely an act, which is the result of this prac- 
tice. The result, whatever it is. is an attribute of the man 
under all circumstances, and not merely when engaged in 
the exercises whence the habit was acquired. 

'' But to come nearer to the case in hand. We say a 
man has a malignant disposition, or an amiable disposition, 
"What is to be understood by these expressions? Is it 
merely that he often indulges malignant or amiable feelings? 
or is it not rather that there is an habitual proneness or 
tendency to their indulgence ? Surely the ktter. But, if 
m the principle stated above, that we can regard the soui 


only as to its substance or its actions, cannot be correct. 
For the result of a repetition of acts of the same kind is an 
abiding tendency, which is itself neither an act (emanent or 
immanent) nor an ' entity.' Here, then, is the soul with its 
essential attributes, — an habitual tendency to certain exer- 
cises, and the exercises themselves. The tendency is not 
an act, nor an active state of the feelings in question ; for it 
would be a contradiction to say that a man whose heart was 
glowing with parental affection, or filled for the time with 
any other amiable feeling, had at the same moment the 
malignant feelings in an active state, although there might 
exist the greatest proneness to their exercise. We have 
seen no analysis of such dispositions which satisfies us that 
they can be reduced to acts. For it is essential to the 
nature of an act that it should be a matter of consciousness. 
This is true of those which are immanent acts of the will, or 
ultimate choices (by which a fixed state of the affections is 
meant to be expressed), as well as of all others. But a 
disposition or principle, as explained above, is not a matter 
of consciousness. A man may be aware that he has a cer- 
tain disposition, as he is aware of the existence of his soul, 
from the consciousness of its acts, but the disposition itself 
is not a subject of direct consciousness. It exists when the 
man is asleep or in a swoon, and unconscious of anything. 
Neither can these habits be, with any propriety, called a 
choice, or permanent affection. For in many cases they are 
a mere proneness to acts which have their foundation in a 
constitutional principle of the mind. Our object at present 
is merely to show that we must admit that there are mentai 
habits which cannot be resolved either into essential attri- 
butes of the soul, fixed preferences, or subordniate acts ; and, 
consequently, that those who believe in dispositions prior to 
all acts do not necessarily maintain that such dispositions 


are of the essence of the soul itself If it be within the 
compass of the divine power to produce in us that which by 
constant exercise we can produce in ourselves, then a holy 
principle or habit may be the result of the Spirit's influence 
in regeneration, without any physical change having been 

This I am willing to adopt as a very satisfactory 
description of the origin and nature of that state of mind 
which, in my judgment, precedes voluntary action in this 
world. Man is born with sinful habits, formed by himself, 
deeply fixed, and unconquerable except by divine grace ; 
and this is the simple account of the whole matter. Let 
it now be noticed that the result at which these able 
writers aim is the very thing which is given to them by 
preexistence, in perfect consistency with the laws of mind 
and the character of God. But that such evil habits 
can be concreated is not capable of proof, and is not 
probable ; and, even if it were possible, it is not consistent 
with the character of God. Moreover, if they were con- 
created by God, they ought to be viewed rather in the light 
of an evil unjustly inflicted by him upon man, than of de- 
pravity for w^hich uian can be justly held accountable. But, 
on the view which I present, all of these difficulties disappear. 

That man is responsible for habits thus formed, and 
that they fill up the proper meaning of such words as a 
sinful disposition, bias, taste, inclination, is very clearly 
stated by Prof Stuart, in his discussion of the nature of sin, 
in the American Biblical Repository for July, 1839. 

''It will doubtless be asked here, What, then, — is there 
not such a thing as sinful disposition, bias, taste, inclina- 
tion in men ? Are we to abandon all expressions of this 
sort, so long established by usage, and the common sense of 
mankind ? 


*' Not at all to abandon them, is my reply. Whenever 
a disposition, bias, inclination, propensity, or whatever of 
diis nature one may please to name it. is spoken of as being 
sinful^ the phraseology evidently may have two different 
meanings. In the one case, if by the phraseology in ques- 
tion we mean to designate the bias, or inclination, or pro- 
pensity to evil, which men have created for themselves by 
practically indulging in sin, then these words may be taken 
in their natural and proper sense. It is a known law of 
our being that the indulgence of forbidden desires and prac- 
tices strengthens our propensity to evil. The man, then, 
who is guilty of such indulgence, is truly and properly a 
sinner, because of his strengthened propensities to evil. 
All which he has done to augment these propensities has 
been voluntary transgression of God's law ; and for these 
propensities, as thus augmented or aggravated, he is alto- 
gether accountable as a sinner. They are not only the 
evidence of his sin, but, in as much as he has made them 
strong and imperious, so far as they have been augmented 
and made to become imperious by him, they are themselves 
sinful^ because they have been strengthened by voluntary 
sinful indulgence. Hence the Scriptures so often speak, and 
truly they may speak, of iTTidviihi as being sinful''^ 

If men are born with such habits, thus formed in a 
previous state of being, then for them they are respons- 
ible. And it is worthy of notice that the old writers 
often call the opposite state produced by regeneration the 
habit of love, faith, or of any other Christian grace. Thus, 
by the theory of preexistence, a deep foundation is laid for 
a thorough doctrine of original sin and total depravity ; and 
yet the guilt rests upon man, and God is clear. 

Accordingly, this view has so much verisimilitude, that it 
has naturally suggested itself to Julius Miiller, a of an 


intelligent, far-seeing and candid mind, as the only satisfac- 
tory explanation of the matter, on a fair view of the facts of 
the case. Of him Professor Edwards says : " As a pro- 
found and scientific theologian, he has probably no superioi 
among his learned countrymen. His great work is on the 
Nature of Sin, and is characterized by profound investiga- 
tion, accurate analysis, comprehensive survey of the entire 
field, and a systematic arrangement of his materials truly 
German." He first establishes the reality of sin, disclosing 
its nature and its guilt. He comes to the result that noth- 
ing can partake of the nature of sin, or involve guilt, except 
the acts of the will, or the results of those acts on the con- 
stitution in the form of sinful propensities and habits. He 
resolves all actual sin into selfishness, and herein agrees 
with Edwards and Hopkins. He then discusses different 
theories of the origin of sin, rejecting the idea that it 
is either the necessary result of a finite nature, or of the 
metaphysical imperfection of man ; or that it results from 
the fact that the mind is connected with the material sys- 
tem by the body, with its senses and appetites; or that 
evil is necessary, in order, by its contrasts, to secure a vital 
development of individuals in human life ; and also the 
Manichcan theory of a self-existent principle of evil. 

He traces tlie origin of sin to the perverted and self- 
determined action of free will. He holds that, to originate 
character, there must be at the beginning of existence a 
power of choice between good and evil, such that, whichever 
is chosen, the other might have been chosen. Herein he 
agrees with Augustine and his followers. By this power 
of choice, a character may be formed such that the prepon- 
derance either to good or to evil shall be so strong as to 
create a certainty that the opposite will never be chosen. 
In this state of preponderance to evil, he finds man from the 


very beginning of his development in this -world. He does 
not, therefore, come here to form a character, but with one 
already formed. The following condensed summary of his 
views on this point I take from the abstract of Mr. Robie, in 
the Brbliotheca Sacra for May, 1849, p. 253, not having 
myself seen the second volume of the work. 

''If there were, at the commencement of our conscious 
existence, such an individual act as the stepping forth of the 
will out of a state of indecision into a sinful purpose, it 
would remain as a dark background in the memory. But 
who is able to say definitely when and how he for the first 
time acted in contradiction to his moral consciousness? 
Certainly our recollection, if our attention is directed suffi- 
ciently early to this point, goes back further than is gen- 
erally supposed ; and many a one will be able to say when, 
for example, the first feelings of hatred and revenge were 
enkindled within him, and what a tumult they produced in 
the soul of the child. But, if we descend deeper into the 
shaft of self-recollection, we discover behind these earliest 
moments of sin still others by which they were prepared, 
and which accordingly must have been of the same sinful 
character : and, if we seek to fix these, yet other similar 
emotions loom up in our memory, and these again, if we 
seek to hold them fast, lose themselves in an uncertain twi- 
light. To a pure beginning, to an original determining act, 
it is impossible in this way to attain. The earliest sinful 
act which presents itself to our consciousness does not 
appear as the incoming of an altogether new element into 
the youthful life, but rather as the development and mani- 
festation of a hidden agency, the awakening of a power 
slumbering in the deep. Sin does not then for the first 
time exist in us, but only steps forth into light. However 
important the epoch of awakening moral consciousness may 


be, it has a past beliind it, which is not without co-deter- 
mining influence upon the conduct of the child in that 

'' And is it probable that a decision on which depends 
the future moral character of an immortal soul would be 
intrusted to the weak hand of a child 7 Go back as far as 
we may, we do not find formal freedom in this life. From 
the earliest period of his existence in this world, the moral 
character of man is already determined. On the ground of 
a practical empiricism, — that is, a mode of thinking which 
seeks for the circumstances and conditions of the moral 
actions of men only in what comes under our observation 
during this earthly life, — the doctrine of necessity cannot be 

'' To originate one's own character is an essential con- 
dition of personality : and since from the beginning of this 
life man's character is already determined, we obliged 
to step over the bounds of time to find the source of his 
freedom of will, to discover that act of free will by which he 
determined himself to a course of sin. Is the moral con- 
dition, in which, irrespective of redemption, we find man to 
be, one of guilt, and a consequence of his own act ; is there 
truth in the testimony of conscience which imputes to us 
our sins ; is there truth in the voice of religion that God is 
not the author of sin, — then the freedom of man must have 
its beo-innino; in a domain out of time. In this domain is 
that power of original choice to be sought for which pre- 
cedes and preconditions all sinful decisions in time." 

We have here the elements of an argument which, if the 
premises are sure, is valid. The premises are, sin must 
be man's own act, guilt can attach to nothing else. Nor is 
God the author of sin. Yet man is, from the beginning of 
this life, a sinner, and guilty. This is the testimony of 


conscience and of God. Of course he must have sinned 
before entering this world. 

He reasons again to the same effect, as follo^ys : 
" The problem is, to reconcile the guilt of each individual 
with the universality of sin in the race, and thus show the 
falsity of the conclusion, drawn from that universality, that 
Bin is an essential constituent of human nature, or a matter 
of metaphysical necessity. On the one side, there is in all 
men an innate sinfulness, and, on the other side, wherever 
sin is there is guilt ; that is, each individual is, by his own 
self-determination, the author of his sin. This would be a 
manifest contradiction, if there were not preceding our 
earthly development in time an existence of our personality 
as the sphere of that self-determination by which our moral 
condition from birth is affected. And so, from these unde- 
niable facts of human life, we are led to the same idea to 
which the examination of human freedom brought us, — the 
idea of a mode of existence of created personalities out 
of time, and from which their life in time is dependent. 
Should we, however, ascribe to all personal creatures in the 
timeless state of their being such a perversion of will as is 
found in man, we should transfer the same difficult problem 
to the sphere in which, we suppose, is found its solution. 
But here we are met and relieved by a doctrine which finds 
a place in the religious belief of most nations, that a part 
of the spirit-world, by their self-determination, founded a 
moral state of being in undisturbed harmony with God, and 
thus elevated the original purity in which they were cre- 
ated to a free holiness ; and that another portion of those 
beings entirely and decidedly turned away from God, 
whereby for their existence in time every inclination to good 
was excluded." 

Who does not see that this distinguished divine, who is 


confessedly the leader of the German theologians of this 
day, was led to take this view by the same mode of reason- 
ing that is deemed conclusive with reference to the New- 
tonian system 7 The solution which he assigns accounts for 
the facts of the case. No other does or can. The object 
of his work and his line of argument differ from mine, yet 
in this particular I am gratified to see that "we come to com- 
mon results. 

It is also an encouraging circumstance that Dr. Hodge, 
speaking in the name of the Princeton divines, has referred 
with approbation to this work of Miiller as one of great 
importance, and on the right side of the great question of 
original sin. We are thus encouraged to hope that they 
will adopt his doctrine, that nothing is sin except acts of 
the will or their results in evil habits, and logically follow 
it out to its results. 

There is another and more extended form of argument, 
which requires greater detail and fulness than is con- 
sistent with my present limits, if its full power is to be 
exhibited. It is the argument taken from the agreement of 
the phenomena of the system as a whole with preexistence, 
and also from the tendencies of the system to affect human 
society, in contrast with the actual effects of the opposite 
system. I can but state this argument in outline. Volumes 
would be required to do it full justice. But, to prepare the 
way, I for the present suspend this line of argument, to 
meet the remaining allegation against the theory of preex- 

Note to Second Edition, on p. 467, &c. — On reading the second 
volume of Miiller, I find that, though he agrees with me in the fact of the 
preexistence of man, yet his views of the state in which he preexisted, the 
masons of his sinning, and the influence of sinful habits- do not agree 
with. mine. 



The remaining allegation against the theory of preexist- 
ence is, that it merely shifts the difficulty, but does not 
remove it. This is thus stated by Dr. Woods. (Vol. ii. 
p. 365.) " This hypothesis, even if admitted to be true, 
would still fail of answering the purpose intended. 
Although it might furnish some plausible account of our 
innate depravity, it would cast no light on the fact of our 
having sinned in a previous state, and so would leave the 
great difficulty untouched. Why moral evil should ever be 
suffered to exist in beings who are entirely dependent on 
God and under his control, and how its existence can be 
accounted for consistently with the infinite perfections of 
God, is a question to which human wisdom, untaught from 
above, can give no satisfactory answer." 

To tliis there is a reply obvious, simple and conclusive. 
The real and great difficulty lies, not in the idea that free 
agents should sin, but in the idea that God should bring 
man into being with a nature morally depraver? , anterior to 
any will, wish, desire or knowledge, of his own, or with a 
constitution so deranged and corrupt as to tend to sin with 
a power that no man can overcome in himself or in others ; 
and that, in addition to this, he should place him in a state 


of SO great social disadvantage, and, as the climax, expose 
him, so weak, to the fearful wiles of powerful and malignant 
spirits. This difficulty preexistence does touch and entirely 
remove, by referring the origin of his depravity to his 
own action in another state, and showing that the system of 
this world is a system of sovereignty established over beings 
who have lost their original claims on the justice of God. 

If now a difficulty is alleged still to exist as to their 
first sinning in a previous state, it is enough to say that 
this is not the same difficulty that existed before, but alto- 
gether a different one ; that is, how beings, created with an 
uncorrupt moral constitution, and in a spiritual system 
arranged in the best manner to favor their perseverance in 
right, could be led to sin. Suppose, then, that this question 
is not answered, and cannot be (although I do not concede 
that it cannot) — but suppose it. What then ? It merely 
leaves a mysterious fact ; but it does not, as in the former 
case, present an alleged fact, which the human mind can see 
to be within the range of its faculties, and to be positively un- 
just. It therefore removes a dispensation positively unjust, 
and, in place of it, presents one that is simplj^ mysterious. 
But it resorts to mystery in a proper place. For, since 
the past history of the universe is not revealed in detail, 
nothing exists to forbid the idea that, whatever were the 
circumstances in which men sinned, and whatever were the 
reasons of their sinning, still they were such as in the 
highest degree to show forth the honor, justice and love of 
God, and to throw the whole blame on man. What, then, 
if we cannot state exactly these circumstances and reasons? 
What if we cannot reconstruct the past history of each 
man ? Still we know nothing, and we see nothing, to forbid 
a full belief, based on confidence in God, that, in all his 
lealings with them, he was honorable and just. 


But, if it be said we do still know enough to create a 
difficulty, — we do know that all created beings are entirely 
dependent on God, and under his control, and it seems 
inconsistent with wisdom and justice that he should allow 
them to sin, — I reply, this objection assumes as its basis 
a theory of the relations of divine power to a system of 
free agency which is neither self-evident nor in accord- 
ance with the word of God. 

It assumes that God, in making and governing a system 
of created minds, has, at all stages of progress, absolute 
and unlimited power to secure universal holiness, if he will ; 
and rejects the supposition of a temporary limitation of 
divine power in the earlier stages of his system, in conse- 
quence of the necessary liability of finite minds to unbelief 
and distrust of God, when exposed to the inevitable trials 
which pertain to an infinite system, such as befits God, and 
in which alone he can properly act out himself These 
opposite views are also connected with two unlike views of 
the character of God, which grow out of and accord with 
them respectively. On the side of absolute and unlimited 
power, it is asserted that the will of God in all things is, 
and ever will be, so completely done, that he is entirely 
free from all grief, pain or suffering of any kind, from the 
sins of his creatures. On the other side, it is held that 
God, in reality, has no pleasure at all in the death of him 
that dieth, but prefers his eternal life, and is really and 
truly grieved by the sins of his creatures ; but that there >» 
a temporary limitation of divine power, originating from 
the limitation of finite capacities to comprehend God and 
his ways, and a consequent liability m the first generations 
of creatures to unbelief, distrust and sin, involving a season 
of suffering in God, and requiring a full unfolding of truth 


in act, until God and his system shall be fully disclosed, 
and the occasion of unbelief cease. 

The position that God's power of disclosing himself and 
his system and plans to his creatures in their earliest gen- 
erations is limited, does not diminish but increases our 
ideas of the greatness of God ; for his greatness is the cause 
of the limitation in question. It is merely the inability of ah 
infinite mind to bring itself and its plans down to the level 
of a finite mind. Does it exalt our ideas of God, and show 
the infinite difference between him and a creature, to assert 
that he can put himself and all his plans fully into the 
mind of that creature ? Or, does it, on the other hand, 
most exalt God to say that he is so vast that no created 
mind can fully comprehend him or his plans, and that it is 
beyond even his power to destroy the infinite chasm that 
separates creator and creature ? But, simple and obvious as 
is this idea of the vastness of God and his system, and this 
consequent limitation of finite minds, and obvious and satis- 
factory as is the solution of the origin of evil which it 
furnishes, still it has been much overlooked. The causes 
which have blinded the minds of so many to it are, the 
inconsiderate ascription to God of the unproved ability to 
do all things, in a moral system, by naked power, without 
moral and intellectual motives: want of proper reflection 
on the disproportion between him and created minds, and 
on what is essential in order to act with him in a universal 
system, and on the discipline needed to fit created minds for 
it, and on the trial involved in such discipline; on the ease 
with which a being so vast in the execution of plans which 
are infinite and for eternity may be misunderstood, and on 
the immediate and fatal effects of a loss of confidence in 
God. It has not been sufficiently considered, that, if the 
very greatness of God, and the necessary limitation of all, 


even the highest created minds, render it impossible for him 
to disclose fully either himself or his plans to them, then 
that he must try them, by acting in view of what he sees, 
not of what they see : that is, he must ever act in view of 
considerations unseen and unknown to created minds. He 
dwells in light to which no created mind can approach ; and 
no eye has seen, or ever will see, but in an infinitely small 
degree, all that is involved in the full knowledge of God. 
But, when once these things are well considered, they disclose 
a satisfactory reason for the origin of evil, and one not dis- 
honorable to God; for to annihilate the infinite distance 
between himself and a creature is not in his power. He 
must act according to his own greatness, and yet under the 
limitations created by an utter impossibility of transmitting 
into a finite mind a full knowledo;e of all that exists in an 
infinite one. Hence, if he will act with finite minds, on an 
infinite plan, he must act, at least in the earlier generations, 
with a necessary liability of being misunderstood; and, if 
his ways are trying, of losing the confidence of those with 
whom he acts. But, whoever disbelieves, and distrusts 
God and departs from him, departs, of course, from infinite 
truth and right; and, though God's vastness forbids him to 
disclose this at once, yet the progress of events, in a course 
of development, will surely show that such is the fact. 

What God needs, then, is not naked power, but calm, 
benevolent, tranquil patience and time. In this way, the 
progress of events will cover him -yith glory, and his 
enemies with shame. 

This view is that which accords with the general spirit of 
the Bible, and with the views there given of the vastness 
of his plans, and of his taking counsel of none. (Is. 40, 
Rom. 11.) Their impenetrability to created intellects is no 
less clearly set forth. Clouds and darkness are round about 


him. The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick 
darkness. Secret things belong unto him. 

Carry back, then, these principles to the early generations, 
and we find an ample solution of the origin of evil, inUhe 
trial of new-created minds, with uncorrupted moral consti- 
tutions, and yet not developed by discipline, and needing 
trial to perfect them, as was the case with Christ, who 
learned obedience by the things that he suffered, and was 
thus perfected. Conceive of them as in trial, distrusting 
God, revolting and taking ground against him, and the 
system is solved. All else is a system of patient evolution 
on the part of God, by which the truth is to be revealed, 
and they are to be exposed, and the power and reign of 
unbelief are to be forever destroyed, not by direct force, 
but by truth and justice. 

In this account of the matter we rise entirely above any 
solution which the common system of the fall can furnish. 
On the other hand, that discountenances this view, even as 
respects the first entrance of sin, by representing God as 
disowning it in this world. Here, he brings in sin, by the 
fall, as an element chosen and desired. He, through one 
sin, renders sure the existence of a fallen race, as furnishing 
the necessary materials for a system of grace, — such ma- 
terials, and so situated, as have been described. In this way 
are created the positive difficulties already considered, and 
of which there is no reasonable solution. 

This, of course, nullifies all theories as to any honorable 
solution of the great problem of the primitive origin of 
evil; for, if God is such a being that his feelings do not 
revolt at introducing moral evil into this world in this way, 
then there is no reason to look for any better mode of 
gecuring the same result in the first entrance of evil. 

It may, indeed, be said that it is of no use at all t€ 


Speculate as to the origin of evil; it is a thing that cannot 
be understood; it is beyond the reach of our faculties, and 
to speculate concerning it is presumptuous. Indeed, Dr. 
Woods has not hesitated to use the following hard words 
on the subject : '• If we should try to make out, by reasoning, 
that something like this (that is, preexistence) must be sup- 
posed, in order to account for the fact of our depravity 
consistently with the justice of God, our reasoning, instead 
of proving the fact of a preexistent state, would only prove 
our ignorance and presumption.'' 

Is it, indeed, so ? And will reflecting men be willing to 
take such a ground on the most practical and important 
of all questions 7 If the great end of this remedial system 
is so to justify God and condemn man as to lay a reasonable 
foundation for undissembled and intelligent penitence, then 
is it not necessary to take up, not merely the fact, but the 
origin, of sin ? Are there, in fact, no principles of equity 
and honor on this point ? Has the church in all ages been 
mistaken in supposing that there are 7 Is it not possible 
that men may so misinterpret the Bible as to represent God 
as introducing sin dishonorably ? Are we bound to receive 
all that any man chooses on such grounds to assert con- 
cerning God 7 Is nothing due to the honor of God 7 If 
it can be clearly proved that the common theory of the fall 
in Adam is at war with God's honor, and that preexistence 
is not, because it opens the way for such an origin of evil 
as I have described, is there no sound argument in all this 7 
So far am I from giving way before such a style of dog- 
matic assertion, that I do not hesitate to say that a proper 
vindication of God in this matter is one great work both 
of this and of future ages. 

All that God is doing, in the present dispensation, is but 
a part of one great system. We cannot understand this 


system, unless we consider its ends, and the adaptation of 
means to gain them. One end is, to put down all hostile 
power, rule and authority, now arrayed against God 
(1 Cor. 15 : 24, 25). This is to be done by exposing the 
nature, criminality, and results of the revolt of Satlan 
and his followers from God. This implies that it may (be 
and must be known that it originated without any good 
reason, and from no fault on the part of God ; and that the 
creature is to be blamed for its origin, and not the creator ; 
and, in order to see this, it must be disclosed, at least in 
principle, how and why it did originate. 

If its power is to be destroyed by turning the convictions 
of intelligent beings against its authors, then it cannot be 
destroyed till they are convinced. The same principles 
apply in the case of man. The Bible nowhere represents 
the conflict between God and his rebellious creatures as one 
of mere power. God is to be "justified in his sayings and 
overcome when he is judged.^'' It is a strife which is to 
be decided not by naked power, but by good conduct ; that 
is, by benevolent, honorable, and right conduct. 

But, as it is a strife between unequal parties, infinitely 
unequal, there is a sentiment of honor in such a case, 
imposing the highest responsibilities on him whose power, 
knowledge and other advantages, are greatest. We see 
the action of this principle clearly developed in this life. 
In a moral strife of an elevated, highly-educated clergyman, 
of great powers and advantages, with an inexperienced boy, 
whilst we should not excuse sin in the boy, yet we should 
judge the clergyman by the law, — to whom much is given, 
of him, also, is much required. 

Especially, if, in such a conflict, the original advantages of 
any one, for good conduct, depended not on his own will, but 
on that of one in conflict with him, should we make high 


demands of honor on the more powerful, not to put his 
antagonist into a position of needless weakness and disability. 
In physical conflicts, all admit the force of this principle. 
If a powerful man should give to a weak antagonist a lead 
sword and a paper shield, and arm himself with a steel 
sword and a metal shield, would there be any honor in a 
victory achieved in such circumstances 1 

In this wide universe no thought is so affecting as to 
exist for eternity, and to be called on, in a relatively brief 
time of trial, to decide the character of that eternity. 

In the case of every being who thus exists, the following 
things do not depend at all upon his will, but solely on 
God's : The fact that he exists; his original constitution and 
powers ; his circumstances in the system of God, and the 
influences exerted on him by God, by way of statement, 
persuasion and motives of all kinds, adapted to secure a 
right deportment. 

In order to justify God, and to condemn his sinful 
creatures, all the sentiments of an honorable mind demand 
that it be made to appear that, in all these things, God did 
all for his creatures that our highest conceptions of justice, 
honor, magnanimity and generosity, demand ; all that was 
needed to place them in the most favorable position possible, 
all things considered, for good conduct : and that he earnestly 
desired their success, -and that their misconduct was against 
reason, honor and right, and no less against the feelings and 
wishes of God. 

If any say that, on such principles, the entrance of moral 
evil cannot occur, I reply, the statement is very inconsiderate. 

What is the standard of the best possible constitution and 

powers ? Is it not an adaptation of the mind to know God, 

to commune with him in love, and to act in a system with 

him? But this implies, of necessity, vast powers of 


482 CONFLICT or ages. 

conception and emotion, powerful impulses to action, and 
great energy of y,^ill. To fit innumerable minds, so consti- 
tuted, to act together and with God in an infinite system, 
involves, of necessity, trial, just as it did in the case of 
Christ, in order properly to develop and perfect them ; and 
such trial involves the possibility, and even the dangfer, of 
failure through unbelief. 

For, as the preserving power, in time of trial, is a belief 
of the statements of God as to what is right and wrong, 
wise and unwise, and as to the certainty of good or evil, as 
law is observed or violated, — and if none but God knows, or 
can know, intuitively, all truth, and the full extent and 
certainty of good or evil involved, — and if he cannot transfer 
his own infinite perceptions to finite minds, then no course 
is left but to throw his creatures on faith ; and, if in trial 
they will not believe^ but will gain, by trial against law, a 
knowledge of good and evil, then to push on the system to 
its final results, till the real truth in the case shall be 
developed by facts ; God, meantime, enduring with infinite 
patience the unbelief and ingratitude of his creatures, till 
he has fully acted out his own truth and righteousness, and 
they their falsehood and wrong. Thus would God be "jus- 
tified in his sayings, and overcome when he is judged." 

Such a view of the origin of evil does not imply the neces- 
sity of sinning, as a means of moral development. For, under 
such a system, multitudes have persevered without sin, and 
been confirmed in holiness. Indeed, no one can show that 
of the great majority of existing beings this is not true. 
The decided probability is that it is true. 

Nor, in the case of any, vras there a necessity of falling; 
for, though limited in knowledge, still they had che power 
to believe God, and so to stand steadfast in obedience. In 
t^.c highest exercises of faith there is always a vigorous 


exercise of the will ; and it was, before evil entered, in the 
power of all to believe, and thus to live. But they dis- 
believed, and fell. Of this we see a symbol in the tempta- 
tion in Eien. Belief of God and eating of the tree of life 
are connected. Disbelief of God, and a determination to 
know, by trial, the truth of his statements as to good and 
evil, is symbolized by a determination to eat of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil, in view of the denial of danger 
and the hope of gain which proceeded from him who well 
remembered his own guilty fall. 

Such a view of the origin of evil is a full defence of 
God. It also shows that, after creation and the entrance 
of sin, a system of evolution^ with a well-defined end, 
would, of necessity, arise, presenting something to be done 
by God, not in the exercise of mere naked power, but in 
the practical development of all his excellences, in a 
system in which, according to his own words, he is as 
really '' tried and proved " as are his creatures^ and 
in which in a peculiar and infinite degree he develops 
patience, long-sufiering, mercy, grace, self-sacrifice, self- 
denial, and forgiving love, and finally overcomes and pros- 
trates all his foes by this full development of his real and 
infinitely tried and proved excellences, in contrrast with the 
unbelief, ingratitude and malevolence, of his enemies. 

Not only is this view of the origin of evil better than any 
that the common theory of the fall in Adam will allow, but 
it is in striking accordance with the general aspects of the 

That sacred book discloses to us upon its very face a 
system of evolution designed fully to bring out the character 
of God, and, by so doing, to give him a glorious intellectual 
and moral victory over all his foes. But the very nature 
of such a system siows t'lat it was not possible for God to 


make this disclosure of himself to finite creatures, by 
direct power, and without the acting out of principles and 
attributes in a system. This is a necessary iijiference from 
the infinity of God, and is proved by facts ; for hb now reaches 
this result at the expense of much misery and the ruin of 
many of his creatures. By this he makes certain principles 
so clearly known as to remove all grounds of subsequent 
unbelief in coming ages. But, if God, by direct power, 
could have made the universe to know these things just as 
surely without the facts as with them, then the misery is 
superfluous and malevolent. 

God, also, in certain cases, has recognized the limitation 
of finite minds from which the necessity of such evolution 
arises. He says, by Moses, of the Jews, " I said I would 
scatter them into corners. I would make the remembrance 
of them' to cease from among men, were it not that I feared 
the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave 
themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand 
is high, and the Lord hath not done all this ; " that is, lest 
I should be misunderstood by limited minds, if I did not 
thus disclose myself (Deut. 32: 26, 27.) See, also, 
Num. 14 : 15. 

We notice, also, that the great end of the system, in all 
who are saved, is, in a peculiar and preeminent degree, to 
develop and perfect faith. Throughout the whole system 
intense energy is concentrated on this point. I infer from 
this that here was the weak point where evil first entered, 
just as if, when a building had fallen into ruins, we should 
infer that the weakness which caused the fall lay just 
where the architect was concentrating all his skill to produce 
peculiar stirongth in the new building. 

So, then, this view falls in with all known laws of mind, 
and with the leading facts and character of the system. 


On the other hand, to ascribe to God unlimited direct 
power to produce, xoithoiit evolution^ any amount of knowl- 
edge and faith, in an infinite system, makes the introduction 
of evil not so much a mystery as a needless act of malev- 
olence. For, what if it does give occasion to God to display 
his attributes ? Still, by the supposition, he could have 
caused exactly the same knowledge, and belief, and feeling, 
concerning them, without any such evolution. And it is a 
self-evident truth that it is malevolent to produce results at 
the expense of eternal misery that could be produced just 
as well without it. 

Indeed, although Dr. Woods denies this temporary limita- 
tion in the power of God, yet, when he is called to defend 
God, in view of the existence of moral evil, he resorts, in 
fact, to the same theory. " My answer is, it may, in one way 
or another, be the means of making a brighter and more 
diversified display of the divine perfections, and thus of 
giving the intelligent creation, as a whole, a higher knowl- 
edge and enjoyment of God. It may be the means of illus- 
trating more clearly the excellence of the law and govern- 
ment of God, and of producing ultimately, through his moral 
kingdom, a purer and more ardent attachment to his char- 
acter and his administration ; so that his intelligent creatures, 
by means of the instruction and discipline in this way 
a*fforded, may be brought ultimately to a state of higher 
perfection and enjoyment than they could attain in any 
other way." Now, if God had the direct power to give to 
his creatures the knowledge of himself and his law and 
administration which is here spoken of, without any devel- 
opments, then his creatures could obtain the specified 
results of that knowledge in another way, and without 
development. They could obtain both the knowledge and 
its results by direct divine communication. But Dr 


Woods says that they "could not attaiii them in any 
other way." He is sustained in this assertion by the best 
of reasons; for, if God could have communicated them 
directly, and without such developments of suffering as 
exist, and will exist forever, then he is malevolent, as 
before shown. 

Hence, all of those who agree with Dr. Woods in de- 
fending God on the ground that by moral evil and its 
results he develops himself and his government as he could 
not otherwise do, — and all know how numerous they are, — • 
do, in fact, concede, the very principle for which I contend. 

Indeed, on this question, there are but two suppositions 
possible. Either the limitation of divine power in the 
earlier stages of creation, which I advocate, exists, or it 
does not exist. If it does not exist, then no man can 
defend God against the charge of malevolence. If it does 
exist, then there is, as I have shown, a simple and natural 
solution of the origin of evil. Out of this first origin 
would naturally arise a system like that in this world, for 
the redemption of a part of those who had fallen, and the 
exposure of the rest ; the whole resulting in a full develop- 
ment of God, and the removal of all future occasions of 

If the limitation in question does not exist, if God has 
unlimited power to communicate knowledge and emotion 
without development, then there is no reason for the ex- 
istence of evil. It discloses nothing that could not be just 
as well disclosed without it. It makes no display of the 
attributes of God, or of his government, thit could not be 
just as perfectly made without it. The sufferings of the 
lost are, therefore, so much needless, and worse than need- 
less, misery. This view of the case impeaches the character 


of God, darkens the whole system, sickens the mind, and 
renders non-existence more desirable than life. 

But we are not left without inspired testimony on thi^ 
point. We have seen that, of these opposite systems, one 
implies, and the other excludes, the suffering of God. If, 
then, the Bible decides the question whether God suffers or 
not in consequence of the entrance of evil, it, in so doing, 
decides the question which of these systems is true. 

But, if anything is prominent and uncontradicted in the 
Bible, it is the great doctrine that the entrance of evil has 
involved a period of long-continued suffering to God. In- 
deed, it is the grand characteristic of the present system, 
that all the glorious results to which God is conducting the 
universal system have been purchased at the expense of 
his own long- continued and patiently-endured sufferings. 
In this he gives to the universe the highest possible proof 
of pure, disinterested, self-sacrificing love. 

These disclosures of the Bible settle the question as to 
the origin of evil. They no less clearly prove that the 
origin of the sin of man is not to be looked for in this 

We do not find here beings with uncorrupted moral con- 
stitutions, nor in the most favorable circumstances. We 
find nothing which a God. such as the Bible discloses, would 
be irresistibly moved to confer on new-created minds, in 
whose death he had no pleasure, and whose eternal well- 
being he so desired as to be filled with grief at their ruin. 
In view of such facts, there is but one conclusion to which 
we can rationally come. We see at once that this world is 
not the abode of new-created, upright minds. On the other 
hand, this is a system of sovereignty towards beings who, by 
sin, have forfeited their rights as new-created minds. The 
laWiS of honor and right, towards new-created minds, are not 


observed in this world, because men are born under a 
forfeiture of them, and are " by nature children of wrath." 
By thus running back to a previous state, we can reach 
a sphere in which those principles were observed towards 
new-created minds which consist with the character of God, 
as revealed in the Bible ; and, on those principles, we can 
account for all the native depravity and entire sinfulness of 
man ; and, as no testimony of God confines us to this world 
for the origin of human depravity, then, if these things 
are so, the character of God and the general principles and 
facts of the system prove that sin did not originate here, but 
that this dispensation is merely a step in the great system of 
exposure, by which God is to be disclosed, truth and holi- 
ness vindicated, and error, unbelief and sin, to be exposed, 
paralyzed and punished, forever. 



I AM now prepared to resume and set forth the argument 
from the agreement of thie phenomena of the whole system 
with the theory of preexistence, and from a view of its rela- 
tions to education and the social system. I have already 
said that a full development of this argument will require- 
volumes, rather than a chapter in a single volume. But, to 
complete the outline of my argument, it is necessary that I 
state some of the points involved, and indicate the mode of 
their development. I shall state nothing, however, for the 
proof of which I am not willing, or rather desirous, to be 
held responsible. 

I allege, then, 

1. That a system based on preexistence is the only one 
w^hich admits and requires such principles as explain what 
the church of God is, and develops a system of the uni- 
verse centring in God and the church, according to the 

2. It is the only system which demands, or even allows, 
of a natural and consistent development of that view of God 
which is peculiar to the Scriptures, — I mean that view in 
which his attributes of patience and long-suffering are pre- 
sented as glorious realities, and are not enervated, or rather 


annihilated, by the assumption that God ca/inot suffer 
which is a doctrine not of the Bible, but of a severe and 
unscriptural philosophy. 

3. It alone so explains the operation of the material sys- 
tem, in the work of redeeming the church, as to unfold the 
reasons, laws and use, of its symbolical and typical signifi- 
cance, the laws of its action on the mind, and the mode of 
making it a powerful agent in the cultivation of holiness, — 
and as thus to cut up by the roots the Platonic, Gnostic and 
Manichean errors as to this part of God's system. 

4. It alone renders possible a system of education that 
shall be throughout philosophical and consistent, concealing 
none of the maladies of the mind, and furnishing remedies 
for them all, so as harmoniously to develop, purify, invigo- 
rate and perfect, all the powers of the body and of the mind 
in connection. 

5. It alone can put an end to that paralysis of social and 
religious energy which is produced, as I have sliOAvn, by a 
deep and radical division among good men, which is, on the 
present system, without any logical remedy. 

6. It alone can present to the human mind a God so cor- 
related to it in all respects that he shall fill its highest pos- 
sible conceptions, and fully evolve and perfect all its powers, 
and lead it, by the full influence of his own example, to a 
truly humble, unvforldly, self-sacrificing, self-denying life. 

7. It alone averts the tendency of free thought, under an 
elevated system of education, to Pelagianism, and ultimately 
to mere naturalism and infidelity, by rendering a supernat- 
ural development the great, fundamental, and truly philo- 
sophical law of the system, — thus on this point harmoniz- 
ing reason and faith. 

8. It alone leads to such an understanding of the doctrine 
of future eternal punishments as, connected with the 


previous suffering of God, shall properly throw the moral 
sympathies of all holy minds on the side of God, and put an 
end. to that reaction which tends so fatally to destroy the 
true and indispensable power of that doctrine. 

9. It alone leads to those full and consistent views of 
God, and that eminent hoHness of the church, which shall 
render possible and shall introduce the predicted marriage- 
supper of the Lamb. 

10. It alone so presents God and his government as to 
furnish the logical means of effecting in principle and spirit 
a radical destruction of those desj^otic civil and ecclesiastical 
organizations in which is the great stronghold of the god of 
this world, and which are the chief impediment to the 
spread of the gospel, and the conversion of the world. 

11. It alone can furnish the logical means of binding 
Satan, destroying his kingdom, converting the world, and 
reorganizing human society in accordance with the prin- 
ciples of the kingdom of God. 

It will, I suppose, be admitted that, if these statements 
are true, they do furnish all needed evidence of the truth of 

But, of course, I cannot expect them to be believed with- 
out proof Nor can I, in my present limits, make out a 
full defence of them all. But I state them as theses or prop- 
ositions essential in order fully to develop my argument, 
and which I am willing, at any time and in any proper way, 
to defend. 

At the same time, I shall not leave them all entirely 
without proof, but shall select some of the most fundamen- 
tal of them, and proceed to their exposition and defence, 
reserving to a future time the completion of the work. 

It is obvious that, if these general statements are true, 
the doctrine of preexistence not only removes the main 


causes of antecedent derangements, but it puts the whole 
system into worhing order, and fits it for the present 
and future exigences of the church. By this I mean, not 
only that it causes the main moving powers of the system 
to work together, as already shown, but also that it intro- 
duces the principles of harmony into the whole system in 
all its parts, thereby rendering possible the unity of the 
church, and preparing the way for the final intellectual and 
moral victory, which is to be an end of all strife. 

It effects this by taking up the great scriptural facta 
which have been held without any enlarged and rational 
principle of connection, and combining them in a plan, sim- 
ple and sublime, growing out of clear and definite principles, 
and comprehending the end of the universal system, and its 
origin, progress, and final state. 

The following great facts lie on the surface of the Bible : 
The fall of Satan, and the existence of a kingdom of evil 
spirits in conflict with the kingdom of God ; also the existence 
of an opposing system, centralized by Christ, designed to 
destroy their power and prostrate them forever. The ful- 
filment of this great design is said to precede and close the 
present dispensation. Another coincident prominent fact is 
the redemption of the church through the atonement of 
Christ, a work the completion of which also coincides in 
time with the prostration of the kingdom of darkness. 
Another striking feature of the Bible is that the present 
material system was created to be subservient to this end, 
and is destined to a future renovation Avhen this dispensa- 
tion has closed. Finally, the word of God presents the 
church as united to God, at the end of the system, by a 
peculiar and eternal covenant ; as sitting down with him 
upon his throne, and inheriting all things, and reigning Avith 
)iim forever. It declares, moreover, that the great end of 


all these proceedings is the disclosure of God to present and 
future generations of intelligent minds in all ages and all 
worlds : and, in accordance with this end, it develops a full, 
\yonderful, and in some respects unanticipated and peculiar 
character of God. 

The existing theories of the fall in Adam have never 
allowed all of these great biblical facts to be combined in 
any simple, natural and consistent system of the universe, 
growing out of clear and definite principles, each part of 
which harmonizes with every other, and imparts to it 
strength ; but they have rather been arranged in limited 
and incomplete systems, always leaving some of the facts 
the relation of which to each other and to the great end of 
the system of the universe is unknown. 

Indeed, all efforts to form a complete system of the uni- 
verse have been discouraged by many as adventurous and 
profitless. So, indeed, they are, if the system is not law- 
fully constructed out of revealed facts. But, if revealed 
facts do furnish a simple and sublime system, why reject 
it ? Such a system is a natural want of the mind. Towards 
it it has tended in all ages. History is full of theories of 
the universe. All men, too, at this day, are, in fact, in- 
fluenced by theories of the universe of some sort, — even 
those who affect to discourage such theories in others. 
Such theories may not have been developed by them, and 
consciously stated and adopted. They exist rather as those 
elevated reservoirs of water, which few visit, but which 
nevertheless impel the little streams of water which are 
used in the varied business of daily practical life. It would, 
indeed, be quite as rational to scout the idea of elevated and 
distant reservoirs as expensive and out of the reach of the 
community, and to advocate the construction of a mere 
system of water-pipes, without a reservoir, for practical use, 


as to scout and repudiate theories of the universe. The 
world is full of them ; their influence is felt on every side. 
All men daily use trains of thinking and reasoning that 
have flowed from them, even if they have never consciously 
seen and adopted them. Those who repudiate them are 
often great admirers of Edwards But did he aim at no 
system ot the universe ? What is his celebrated and eulo- 
gized treatise on God's last end in creation, but his system 
of the universe ? What is his '' History of the Work of 
Redemption," but that system of the universe historically 
exhibited ? In particular, near the close of his general in- 
troduction, he states, in five particulars, the great outlines 
of that system ; and all of these particulars, so far as they go, 
coincide with the view revealed in the Bible. 

Moreover, in his " Miscellaneous Observations " relative 
to the angels and heaven, he still more fully illustrates 
various parts of his system of the universe. So, then, 
those who eulogize Edwards ought not to deny and under- 
value systems of the universe. In like manner it has been 
fashion-able with many to speak of the question of the origin 
of evil as a vain and profitless inquiry ; and yet many, not 
to say all, of the practical religious systems of the day, 
spring directly out of difierent theories as to the origin of 
evil. The theory of divine efficiency is at its roots one 
theory of the origin of evil and of the universe ; that of im- 
putation is another ; and that of the New Haven divines is 
still another. And, even if few ascend to these fountain- 
heads of thought, still multitudes, in all parts of the land, 
are daily drawing and drinking the difierent kinds of water 
which flow from them. 

It is, therefore, not without reason that Miiller, in hia 
great work on sin, says " that this great problem has occu- 
pied the spirits not merely of the theologian and philosopher, 


©n account of their calling, but of all to whom there has 
been a deep necessity of finding a rational and intelligible 
gi-uund of the true significance of human life. And very 
PROPERLY so. So Certain as the religious ethical interests 
of the human spirit are the absolutely highest, so certainly 
must a world-opinion which seeks entirely to avoid the 
question concerning the origin of sin, or to put it aside as a 
subordinate matter, appear nothing more than in the high- 
est degree empty and abstract." (Vol. i. p. 289. Puls- 
ford's Translation.) The origin of evil and a system of the 
universe, then, are lawful objects of inquiry. Let us, then, 
inquire what is that system of the universe which the 
doctrine of preexistence derives from the word of God. 

A true view of the system of the universe demands two 
things as essential. 

First, a solution of the intellectual and moral system. 

Second, a true view of the relations of the material system 
to it. 

That theories as to the material system have great power 
over the doctrinal development of the moral system, all expe- 
rience shows. The facts of greatest interest to be considered 
in the moral system are, the origin and progress of moral 
evil, and its final subjugation by the dispensations of God. 

But no one needs to be told how extensively the doctrine 
has prevailed, both in the heathen and Christian world, that 
the true cause of the origin of sin is to be found in matter. 
It pervades the Platonic philosophy, the various theories of 
Gnosticism, the Manichean system, and has also penetrated 
the various branches of the Christian church. Indeed, 
Isaac Taylor, in his analysis of the ascetic corruptions of 
ancient Christianity, does not hesitate to represent this 
feature of Gnosticism as their primal source ; and no well- 
informed thinker will call in question the correctness of this 


judgment. Not only, therefore, is the whole theory of sin 
and holiness, of morals and of practical sanctification, vitally 
affected by the question of the relation of the material sys- 
tem to the intellectual and moral, but the influence of that 
relation has extended to the whole theory of the system of 
the universe. Indeed, from this quarter, it is possible, by 
a single decision, to control the whole system. It is, then, 
a matter of the highest practical moment, and not of mere 
theory, to come to a correct view of the relation of the 
material to the intellectual and moral system of the uni- 

And yet, as we shall soon see, the mere statement of the 
system, growing out of preexistence, will so adjust the rela- 
tions of the material world, that all conflict and evil influences 
from that quarter will cease. 

Let us, then, consider in order, first, the solution of the 
intellectual and moral system of the universe, and then the 
relations to it of the material system. 

The natural and scientific solution of any system requires 
the discovery of its end, and of the relations of its parts to 
that end and to each other. Hence Edwards made God's end 
in creation the subject of a special treatise, in which, as I 
have said, he gives his system of the universe. He comes 
to the conclusion that the union of the church to God is the 
final end. In this the system is completed. In this God 

The key to the whole system is, no doubt, to be found in 
correct views of the church, and of her union to God. But 
the position in which Edwards leaves the matter does not 
fully satisfy the mind. Other questions will arise, which he 
does not answer. What is the peculiar idea of the church ? 
For what great end was she redeemed and united to God 7 
Why is her final union to God sp)ken of as a marriage 7 


Till these questions can be answered, the mind does not rest 
in the solution of Edwards as full and thorough. 

To these questions no satisfactory answer has, as yet, 
been given. The common system suggests none, and ad- 
mits of none. That which I advocate does. But, before I 
produce it, let us consider existing opinions as to the church. 

Of all writers on theology, President Edwards the elder 
thought and wrote the most on the church in her eternal 
relations. Indeed, it is the grand peculiarity of his theology 
that it centres around this point. Hence its riches, depth 
and power. His history of the work of Redemption, as 
well as his essay on the end of God in creation, are so far 
correct as they put the union of God and the church in the 
centre of all things. But, the mind at once demands. 
What is the church, and why this union? Let us, then, 
consider some common views on this subject, and some 
which Edwards has more fully developed. 

1. It is, then, generally conceded that the church consists 
of those, and those only, who are redeemed through the 
atonement of Christ, and regenerated and sanctified through 
tlie gracious influences of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we 
might almost define the component elements of the church 
in the words of the apostle Peter, by saying that they are 
those of the human race who were " elected according to the 
foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of 
the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of 
Jesus Christ." These in heaven will all sino; the same sons; 
of redeeming love, and none can sing this song but those 
thus redeemed from this earth. 

2. It is also generally held that, through the redemption 
of the church, there has been made a peculiar and glorious 
development of the divine attributes, the influence of which 
is, or is to be, felt throughout the whole intelligent universe. 



For, although this is a small world, and the human race in 
itself is relatively unimportant, yet, as all created beings in 
all worlds have a common interest in God, whatever devel- 
ops his attributes and character has an interest which ia 
universal, and of the highest kind. 

3. It is also held that the redemption of the church is 
eifected through a severe and widely-extended conflict. 
That on the side of God are arrayed legions of angels of 
light ; and that against these are arrayed legions of fallen 
spirits, under Satan, the original author of evil, and the 
great leader of the existing rebellion against God. 

4. It is also admitted, by all who credit the Bible, that 
when the redemption of the church is completed this con- 
flict is brought to a final close. That then all hostile rule, 
and authority, and power, shall be put down, and that all 
enemies shall be put beneath the Redeemer's feet. (1 Cor. 
15: 24, 25.) 

5. It is also admitted and taught, at least by Edwards, , 
that the church will not, after her redemption, be merged in 
the great mass of holy beings who compose the kingdom of 
God, but will remain forever a peculiar and united body, 
sustaining peculiar and eternal relations to God and to the 
rest of his kingdom. Of this the proof is ample. 

6. It is also proved and taught by the same great divine, 
that, through the redemption of the church and her union 
with Christ, the whole intelligent universe will be brought 
together and united under one head in Christ ; and that of 
this head, in virtue of her union to Christ, the church shall 
compose a part. That, in virtue of this union, the church 
shall be exalted with Christ to sit upon his throne; and that, 
in consequence of this elevation, her dignity and rank shall 
exceed those of the angels, and of all other orders of created 
beings. In short, that the church shall be nearest of all 


created beings to Him who sitteth on the throne of the uni- 
verse, and shall, in union with Him, rule over that universe 
forever. Of this, too, the scriptural proof is ample. 

7. In fine, it is held bj him that the church is the ulti- 
mate end of God, not merely as a means, but as what he 
rejoices in and is satisfied with most directly and properly, 
as.the bridegroom rests in and is satisfied with the bride. 
In his own words, '' They are those elect creatures, which 
must be looked on as the end of all the rest of the creation, 
considered with respect to the whole of their eternal dura- 
tion, and, as such, made God's end, — and must be viewed as 
being, as it were, one with God. They were respected as 
brought home to him, united with him, centring most per- 
fectly, and, as it were, swallowed up in him, so that his 
respect to therm finally coincides, and becomes one and the 
same as his respect to himself" For his proof of these 
points, see his treatise on '' God's last end in creation." 

Such, then, are some of the points which are more or less 
generally conceded by intelligent Christians ; and no one 
will deny that they present to the mind ideas of inconceiva- 
ble magnitude and interest. .Moreover, these views are 
sustained, in all their great outlines, by the clear and decisive 
testimony of the word of God. 

Yet thus far enough has not been stated to satisfy the 
rational demands of the mind as to the system of the uni- 
verse, and to give it rational repose. Indeed, until a more 
full account is given of some intelligible ulterior end of 
these proceedings, they have to the mind an aspect of some- 
thing exaggerated and incredible. 

Why is one part of God's creatures thus made the end 
of the creation? Why so valued, honored and exalted 
above the rest'? Especially are these feelings excited, if 
this union is presented as the ultimate result of all things. 


If the holy universe are all created, and God has at length 
completed his works of development, so that nothing remains 
but to study and adore what he has done, — moreover, if the 
scriptural account of heaven and its joys is taken as nothing 
but a glowing statement of the enjoyment of the pleasures 
of holy society and of worship, and of the study of God's 
works, and if only indefinite suggestions are made of un- 
known modes of active usefulness, — then the mind is driven 
back from the future, as if everything of great interest had 
already been done, and as if the mere ends of study, and 
enjoyment, and indefinite action, and even of endless worship, 
did not open before the mind a future equal to what its 
capacities can comprehend and demand. After a long 
training on earth to thought, and enterprise, and vigorous 
action, it needs some more definite and intelligible field for 
the exercise of its powers, and some afiecting and exciting 
end of action. 

There is one simple idea, naturally flowing from the sys- 
tem of preexistence, that will at once effect all this. It is 
this : that the work of creating and training intelligent 
beings to know and love and serve God is but just begun, 
and that the main increase and extension of the universe is 
yet to come ; and that by the redemption of the church the 
universe of God will be brought into such a state that that 
increase can be made without any hazard of any new 
entrance of moral evil, and be continued forever, — and 
especially that the church, owing to the manner of her 
redemption, and her peculiar training, will be prepared to 
preside over and to train the successive generations of nen- 
created minds as no others can ; and that, for this end, and 
also as the resting-place of his own highest and most pecu- 
liar affections, she will be united to God, and exalted to 
roign with him in the manner that has been described. Also, 


that the relation of this union between the church and God 
to this increase, is the reason why it is called a marriage. 

Viewed in this light, the redemption of the church, as set 
forth in the preceding statements, derived from the word of 
God, loses its aspect of an insulated, exaggerated and 
incredible transaction. It is at once placed in the centre 
of the system, as a simple and rational means for the attain- 
ment of ends so definite, so vast, so momentous, so deeply 
affecting, that they at once fill and satisfy the mind as 
worthy of God, and sujfficient fully to put in requisition, 
and that forever, all the affections, intellectual powers, and 
attainments of the church. The object, moreover, is one 
of surpassing interest to God, and to all other orders of 
created minds, forever. 

For, if in the redemption of the church God aimed to 
prostrate Satan and his hosts, and thus to put the universe 
in such a state that an endless increase could be secured, 
and also to provide the means of effecting it, and also a 
peculiar object of his own eternal affections in their highest 
form, then his whole system is not only perfectly explained, 
but is seen to involve the highest possible good of the uni- 
verse. We see the importance to God, and to the whole 
universe, of the redemption of the church. It fully justifies 
the use of such means as the incarnation and the atonement. 
It shows why God created and governs all things with refer- 
ence to this end. It shows why the advent of the day of 
the final union of God and the church is an occurrence of 
such deep interest to him and to his holy kingdom. It 
shows why it is such a crisis in the history of the universe, 
— why to it all things have tended from the beginning, and 
why from it all things will forever diverge, after the great 
work shall be finally completed. 

It would be a matt^-^.r of just surprise, in view of all the 


statements of the word of God wliicli have been set forth, 
that this view of the case has never presented itself and 
been adopted, if the common system did not lead the mind 
away from it and exclude it, as I shall soon evince. 

Yet at one moment the profound and original Bellamy 
stood on the very verge of the true solution, and even sug- 
gested one of its main features. I refer to the sublime idea 
of the future indefinite increase of the kingdom of God, after 
the close of this system. But the peculiar relations of the 
church to this increase he did not discern, nor its intima- 
tion by the analogy of the marriage of the church to God. 
Yet the views which he did advance are worthy of record, 
as shoAving what ideas a contemplation of God's system as a 
whole suggested to his mind, with reference to the ultimate 
state of the universe. 

He is defending his own doctrine concerning the wisdom 
of God in the permission of sin, on the ground that He must, 
in all that he does, do what is most for His own glory. To 
this his opponent, among other things, replies that " God 
might have brought all possible beings into existence at 
once, which would have given a greater display of his per- 
fections." To this Bellamy answers that, in his opinion, 
God knows and has done exactly what was wisest and best 
in this matter, and therefore most for His own glory. And 
to this he adds : 

"How know we if God thinks it best to have a larger 
number of intelligences to behold his glory and be happy in 
aim, but that he judges it best not to bring them into exist- 
ence till the present ' grand drama ' shall be finished at the 
day of judgment? That they may, without sharing the 
hazard of the present confused state of things, reap the ben- 
efit of the whole, through eternal ages ; whilst angels and 
saints may be appointed their instructors to lead them into 


the knowledge of all God's ways to his creatures, and of all 
their ways to him, from the time of Satan's revolt in heaven 
to the final consummation of all things. And as the Jew- 
ish dispensation was introductory and preparatory to the 
Christian, so this present universe may be introductory and 
preparatory to one after the day of judgment, almost infi- 
nitely larger. That this will be the case, I do not pretend 
so much as to conjecture. But I firmly believe that what 
is best on the whole, that infinite wisdom always has done, 
and always will do; and here I rest." (Works, vol. ii. 
pp. 142—3. New York, 1811.) 

This view is brought forward to answer an objection, and 
is for this end presented as a hypothesis which no man can 
disprove. Bellamy, therefore, saw the rationality of the 
idea of endless increase after the day of judgment ; but the 
indications in the system that the church was specifically 
prepared for that very end, and the manifest intimation of 
it in the analogy of marriage, entirely escaped his notice. 
If he had compared this sublime suggestion of his with all 
that is said in the Bible on the relations of the church to 
God, he would have found reason to regard it as more than 
a mere supposition, or a conjecture ; he would have found 
the facts and the lano;;uao;e of the Bible relative to the 
church all tending to this result, fully explained by it, and 
incapable of any other satisfactory explanation. 

The idea of increase after the day of judgment is also the 
basis of Pollok's Course of Time. 

Two youthful sons of Paradise are introduced as walking 
Ugh on the hills of immortality, 

• " Casting oft their eye far through 
The pure serene, observant if, returned 
From errand duly finished, any came, 
Or any, first in virtue now complete. 
From other worlds arrived, confirmed in good." 


One such they saw approaching the place where they 
stood. This place is the residence of God, the centre of the 
universe. Of it the poet thus speaks : 

"Mountains of tallest stature circumscribe 
The plains of Paradise, whose tops, arrayed 
In uncreated radiance, seem so pure. 
That naught but angel's foot, or saint's elect 
Of God, may yenture there to walk ; here oft 
The sons of bliss take morn or evening pastime. 
Delighted to behold ten thousand worlds 
Around their suns revolving in the vast 
External space, or listen the harmonies 
That each to other in its motion sings. 
And hence, in middle heaven remote, is seen 
The mount of God in awful glory bright. 
Within, no orb create of moon, or star. 
Or sun gives light ; for God's own countenance, 
Beaming eternally, gives light to all ; 
But further than these sacred hills his will 
Forbids its flow — too bright for eyes beyond. 
This is the last ascent of Virtue ; here 
All trial ends, and hope ; here perfect joy. 
With perfect righteousness, which to these heights 
Alone can rise, begins, above all fall." 

Of himself he thus speaks : 

" Virtue, I need not tell, when proved, and full 
Matured, inclines us up to God and heaven, 
By law of sweet compulsion strong and sure ; 
As gravitation to the larger orb 
The less attracts, through matter's whole domain. 
Virtue in me was ripe. — I speak not this 
In boast, for what I am to God I owe, 
Entirely owe, and of myself am naught. 
Equipped, and bent for heaven, I left yon world, 
My native seat, which scarce your eye can reach, 
Rolling around her central sun, far out, 
On utmost verge of light : but first to see 
What lay beyond the visible creation. 
Strong curiosity my flight impelled." 


On his way he saw the hell to which had been consigned 
the lost of the human race, and, full of wonder and astonish- 
ment, pressed on towards Paradise for an explanation. Such 
an explanation the youthful sons of Paradise could not give, 
and therefore conducted him to another teacher. 

" Something indeed ■we heard before. 
In passing conversation slightly touched, 
Of such a place ; yet rather to be taught, 
Than teaching, answer what thy marvel asks, 
We need ; for we ourselves, though here, are b'^' 
Of yesterday — creation's younger sons. 
But there is one, an ancient bard of Earth, 
Who, by the stream of life sitting in bliss. 
Has oft beheld the eternal years complete 
The mighty cu'cle round the throne of God ; 
Great in all learning, in all wisdom gi-eat. 
And great in song ; whose harp in lofty strain 
Tells frequently of what thy wonder craves. 
While round him gathering stand the youth of heave 
With truth and melody delighted both ; 
To him this path directs, an easy path. 
And easy flight will bring us to his seat." 

The sum of the reply is thus given by the ancient bard : 

" The place thou sawst was hell ; the groans thou heardst 
The wailings of the damned, of those who would 
Not be redeemed, and at the judgment day, 
Long past, for unrepented sins were damned. 
The seven loud thunders which thou heardst, declare 
The eternal wrath of the Almighty God. 
But whence, or why they came to dwell in woe. 
Why they curse God, what means the glorious mom 
Of resurrection, these a longer tale 
Demand, and lead the mournful lyre far back 
Through memory of sin and mortal man. 
Yet haply not rewardless we shall trace 
The dark disastrous years of finished Time, 



Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy. 
Nor yet shall all be sad ; for God gave peace, 
Much i>eace, on earth, to all who feared his name.** 

The narrative of the bard occupies the remaining books 
of the poem. 

Here, then, as in Bellamy, we have the idea of endless 
increase, but the relation of the church to it is not seen. 

Indeed, the moral education of the youth of heaven, in 
various worlds, is represented as often, if not always, com- 
pleted without the knowledge of the history of this world 
and of the church. Even some of those in Paradise do not 
know enough of it to instruct a new comer. 

And yet the poet thus sets forth the result of the history 
of this world. At the close of the judgment, and of the 
burning of the earth, angels and saints, chanting songg of 
praise, ascend with the Redeemer to the eternal gates. 

*' Thus sung they God, their Saviour : and themselves 
Prepared complete to enter now, with Christ, 
Their living Head, into the Holy Place. 
Behold ! the daughter of the King, the bride. 
All glorious within, the bride adorned. 
Comely in broidery of gold I behold. 
She comes, apparelled royally, in robes 
Of perfect righteousness, fair as the sun. 
With all her virgins, her companions fair, — 
Into the Palace of the King she comes. 
She comes to dwell forevermore ! Awake, 
Eternal harps ! awake, awake, and sing ! — 
The Lord, the Lord, our God Almighty, reigns ! " 

He sees the universal and unchangeable system opening 
as a wedding, resulting in the endless covenant union of 
God and the church. He also believes in an indefinite 
increase and education of new-created minds, and yet sees 


no peculiar relation of the cliurcli to so great a work. 
Edwards, also (vol. ii. p. 605), holds that some in heaven 
will be a kind of ministers in that society, — ''ministers 
to their knowledge and love, and helpers of their joy, 
as mmister«5 of the gospel are here;" but he does not 
intimate the relation of the church as in a peculiar sense 
the teacher of new-created minds, although he notices 
that "the glorification of the church, after the last judg- 
ment, is represented as the proper marriage of the Lamb." 
He also teaches that they possess all things "in their Head, 
who has the absolute possession of all, and rules over all, 
and disposes all things according to his will ; for by virtue 
of their union with Christ, they also shall rule over all. 
They shall sit with him in his throne, and reign over the 
same kingdom." It is, therefore, the more remarkable that 
the idea of an endless increase of new-created minds, to be 
educated and trained by the church in coming ages, does not 
appear ever to have occurred to the mind of Edwards as 
implied in the analogy. 

And yet, it is the less to be wondered at, because the 
common system tends to lead the mind away from such a 
result. In that system the redemption of the church is 
looked on as merely a work of divine manifestation, not 
growing by any temporary limitation of divine power out of 
the antecedent history of the universe, but merely acted out 
for the benefit of orders of beings already in existence, who 
look on as spectators, just as if the universe were already 
nearly or quite infinite, and as if, although the redemp- 
tion of the church is an act eminently honorable to God. 
yet, in the words of Chalmers, "It is but an ephemeral 
doing in the history of intelligent nature ; and that there 
remains time enough to him for carrying round the visita- 


tions of as striking and peculiar a tenderness over the whole 
extent of his great and universal monarchy." 

But, if it is the redemption of the church which both marks 
and causes the subjugation of moral evil for the universe, and 
if it prepares the way for an endless increase of new-created 
beings to be trained by the church, then it is not one of 
many ephemeral transactions, but is the great event to which 
all things tend from the beginning, and from which all 
things again diverge through all future ages. 

To a king it is not, surely, an ephemeral transaction, when 
he obtains and is united to a royal bride, who, during his 
life, is to preside with him over his kingdom, and educate 
and train his children to be princes in his empire. It is a 
peculiar arrangement, which affects his whole life and reign, 
and all the interests of his empire, as none other can. 
Moreover, it awakens emotions higher and more peculiar 
than any other relation or event. 

If, then, the final and eternal union of the church to God 
is something analogous to this, — if the love by which they 
are united is peculiar in its nature and intensity, if the 
union opens the way to an endless increase of the family of 
God, and if all new-created beings are to be trained by the 
church for stations of influence and honor in the kingdom 
of God, — then it is a peculiar arrangement, which affects his 
whole existence and reign in all future ages and in all 
worlds, and all the interests of his empire also, as none 
other can. It is the key to the system of the universe. 

We now see at once, as before stated, a sufficient reason 
why the redemption of the church should be God's great 
end during this dispensation, and why he manifests an 
interest so peculiar in all pertaining to this result. 

But, it may be said, What has preexistence, or the fall in 


Adam, to du with all this ? Why may not the same system 
be reached, on either supposition ? 

I answer, because such a system as I have developed, 
centring in the church, presupposes and rests upon prin- 
ciples, with reference to the origin of moral evil, which pre- 
existence calls for and admits^ but the opposite view does 
not call for, but excludes. And, so long as they are not 
called for, but excluded, it is not possible to see any neces- 
sity of a church, any crisis calling for her redemption, any- 
thing peculiar to be effected by her, any reason for a pecu- 
liar union between her and God, any peculiar work for her 
to do. Let us once more consider these principles. 

I have already stated two theories of the relations of 
divine power to a system of free agency : one assuming 
that God has absolute and unlimited power at all times to 
secure universal holiness, if he will ; the other teaching a 
temporary limitation of divine power in the earlier stages 
of creation, in consequence of the liability of finite minds to 
unbelief and distrust of God, when exposed to the trials 
which inevitably pertain to an infinite system, and which 
are necessary to their own development and perfection. 
These opposite views are also logically connected with two 
opposite views of the character of God. One asserting that 
the power of God is at all times so unlimited over minds that 
his will has been, is, and ever will be, so completely done, 
that he is, and ever has been, entirely free from all grief, pain 
or suffering of any kind, from the sins of his creatures. 

On the other hand, it is held that God in reality, as he 
asserts, has never nad any pleasure at all in the revolt and 
ruin of any of his creatures, but has been truly grieved at 
it, and has altogether preferred their eternal life. But that 
a temporary limitation of divine power, in the earlier stages 
of creation, owing to the liability of the first generations to 


unbelief and sin, has involved a season of trial and suffering 
to God, the result of which will be such a full unfolding of 
his character and truth in act as shall at length remove 
from all future generations the causes and the occasions of 

On these principles, we see that there never has been any 
occasion for God originally to introduce sin of set purpose ; 
and that his character and feelings, his sense of honor and 
right, are such that he could not do it. All that his own 
benevolence and sense of equity and honor would allow him 
to do would be to create the first generation of beings with 
such powers and faculties as would best fit them to be in 
union with himself, at the foundation of an eternal system, 
destined ever to increase, and then to subject them to such 
a system of probation and education as should be best 
adapted to develop, elevate and perfect, their characters. 
Even so did Christ, though sinless, learn obedience by suf- 
fering ; and thus was he made perfect. 

If, then, in consequence of the temporary limitation of his 
power, caused by the want of antecedent history and devel- 
opments, a part of them distrusted him, and revolted in the 
hour of trial, and afterwards, from successive generations, 
seduced others to join them, thus organizing and extending 
a hostile kingdom, then another step would become neces- 
sary to God, and that is, to prepare for himself an order of 
beings whose love to him should be so all- comprehending 
and immutable that neither trial nor exaltation should ever 
lead them to revolt ; and who should be peculiarly prepared 
to train others, and who should, therefore, be fit to be with 
him at the foundation of an eternal kingdom, and, at the 
same time, in the process of preparing these, disclose so 
fully, through trial and suffering, his own glorious charac 


ter and truth, as to avert the occasions of unbelief in all 
future generations of created beings. 

It is obvious, then, that these principles not only explain 
"what the church is, and what is her place in the system, 
but also shoAY that, from the beginning of the creation, all 
things tended to such an issue. In short, that the redemp- 
tion of the church and her union to God, as a preparatory 
step to the endless increase of the universe, is but a natural 
and perfectly intelligible development of the principles 
which I have stated. 

Of course, the opposite view, which denies these princi- 
ples, cannot furnish any such solution of existing facts. On 
the other hand, the real existence of such facts as flow from 
and are accounted for by these principles, is a strong argu- 
ment sustaining; their truth. 

But we do find disclosed in the Bible a state of things 
exactly corresponding to what would result from such prin- 
ciples, and which, in the light of such principles, receives a 
glorious and satisfactory solution, disclosing a system wor- 
thy of God, and meeting and filling the highest possible 
conceptions of the human mind. Is there not, therefore, 
the best possible reason to believe that both the principles 
and the system are true ? 

These presumptions are carried up to an absolute cer- 
tainty, when we consider that the God disclosed in the Bible 
has the character which is demanded by this system, and is 
repudiated by the other. 

The character of the God of the Bible is definite and 
strongly marked. Among all of his characteristics, none is 
more strongly marked than his sensibility to the appropri- 
ate causes of pleasure and pain to benevolent, honorable 
and upright minds. This sensibility is asserted in every 
form of language, and nowhere denied. 


He is, thereforej represented as peculiarly sensitive to 
the existence and developments of sin. It is at war with 
every impulse and desire of his nature. It causes him 
great and long-continued suffering. Indeed, the true 
energy and the highest glory of his character cannot be 
conceived till we understand that such is the fact, and yet 
that no impatience, or bitterness, or malignant resentment, 
or spirit of unholy revenge, has ever been or ever will 
be disclosed. In the midst of the highest trials of his 
patience, he is entirely tranquil and self-possessed. He is 
the very God of peace. No conception of God presents his 
moral power in so striking a light. Moreover, in this view, 
God himself being judge, his highest glory lies. Such 
is the system of the universe, with respect to God and the 
church, which naturally grows out of the doctrine of pre- 
existence as I have set it forth, and which evinces its truth 
by assigning to God his true character as presented in the 
Bible, and taking up and combining in a harmonious and 
glorious plan the leading facts of the Bible, — a thing which 
the opposing system can never do. 

For, in perfect accordance with the doctrine that God has 
at all times unlimited power to produce holiness and ex- 
clude sin, it represents him as having first, without any 
necessity, permitted and ordered its introduction by Satan, 
and then deliberately called into existence, in addition, all 
the sin that is in this world, by a system designed and 
adapted to produce just such an amount of sin. A fallen 
race was needed in order to exhibit hia attributes in a work 
of redemption; and therefore God arranged a system to 
secure such a race, composed entirely of new-created beings, 
all of whom should be so affected by the act of the progeni- 
tor of the race as either to be born sinners, or else so de- 
ranged in their moral constitution that they certainly would 


sin, and be so entirely and deeply depraved that no power 
but that of God could bring them into a state of holiness. 
All this, too, is effected and rendered sure by an act over 
which they had not the slightest control, and in which 
they had no part. Certainly, no one can properly describe 
this as anything but a plan (to be sure, for alleged benevo- 
lent ends) to produce sin on a great scale, and in all the 
generations of men. 

Out of this sinful race thus produced a church is to be 
redeemed ; but, on such principles, what is the church ? for 
what end redeemed '? why united to God ? Of what import- 
ance is it to the universe ? 

Can it at all augment the power of God to arrest the 
progress and destroy the sway of moral evil? Not at all. 
That was always infinite and unlimited. Can it put the 
universe into a state any more favorable for the increase of 
new-created beings, to be kept from sinning and perfected 
in holiness ? Not at all ; for the power of God to produce 
and perfect such was always unlimited. Can it make any 
manifestation of God, adapted to control minds, that invests 
him with new moral power, that could not otherwise have 
been exerted ? Not at all ; for the power of God to control 
minds, on this theory, has always been full, infinite and un- 
limited. There is, therefore, no occasion for a system 
designed to augment that power by removing from it tem- 
porary limitations. In short, there is no significance to the 
church as the central idea of the system of the universe ; 
no satisfactory explanation of the importance to God of her 
redemption, nor of his deep interest- in the work, nor of his 
amazing sacrifices to effect it, nor of his joy in its com- 

Nor is this all ; it not only renders it impossible on such 
grounds to combine the great facts of the Bible into any 


consistent system of the universe, springing out of intelli- 
gible principles, and carrying them out into glorious results, 
but it represents the great central measure of the system 
as founded on a transaction which many, even of its advo- 
cates, are constrained to admit, cannot be defended on any 
principles of honor and right -vyhich the mind of man was 
made to form, but must be shrouded under the veil of faith 
and of mystery. How can a proceeding of this kind be 
made the part of any intelligible system of the universe 7 
How can it exalt our conceptions of God, or do any good, 
if it needs to be defended by an appeal to mystery, against 
our intuitive convictions of equity and honor, and must be 
sustained by bhnd faith rather than sustain faith by its own 
power ? 

It is important, however, to discriminate the views which 
I have presented from others with which they may be con- 

There is a theory which makes the essential nature of 
free agency such that the limitation of divine power is not 
temporary, and confined to the earlier generations of creat- 
ures, but is eternal. Such was the theory of Origen. 
Accordingly, he held that, after fallen spirits had been 
restored by a material system, and it had been destroyed, 
they and others would again fall, and another similar sys- 
tem be needed ; and thus that there would be an eternal suc- 
cession of such systems, and of redemption through them. 
From this view Augustine very properly revolted. But it 
is not the necessary or natural development of preexistence, 
and is no reason whatever for rejecting it, although Augus- 
tine presents it as such. Origen had plainly no idea of the 
nature or design of the church. He did not see that God 
by her would exclude any future entrance of sin. He based 
his theory, as Mosheim has clearly shown, on the false phi- 


losophy of Ammonius Saccas, and not upon the great and 
leading facts of the word of God. There is nothing in un- 
perverted free agency that cannot be forever controlled by 
moral means, after the full disclosure of God has been made 
through the redemption of the church : so that moral evil 
will never again enter, and no work of redemption, like the 
present, ever be needed or undertaken again. 

Nor are the views which I have presented to be con- 
founded with the opinions of those who apply to this world 
the principles which I apply to a previous state. In ex- 
plaining the origin of evil in this world, it is alleged by 
some that there may be a limitation of divine power such 
that God could not exclude evil from a moral system; or, at 
least, that he could not exclude it, or the present degree of 
it, from the best moral system, because such is the nature 
of free agency that, for aught that we can prove, it may 
enter. In order so to accord with fiicts as to justify God, 
these principles ought to be applied to a system and a state 
of things in which God gives to new-created minds the 
best constitutions and circumstances. If, in such circum- 
stances, evil enters, it implies the limitation assumed; and 
this justifies God. 

But to the state of things in this world these principles 
do not at all apply. The system of this world is obviously 
a system of sovereignty towards fallen minds, and not a 
system designed to illustrate the principles of equity and 
honor towards new-created minds. Men do not enter this 
world with the best possible constitutions, and are not placed 
in the best possible circumstances. For new-created minds 
God could do and ought to do much more than to give tliem 
such constitutions and circumstances as are found in this 
world. Hence, the principles which can be easily and con- 
sistently applied to a preexistent state do not at all apply 


to this world. If there is a limitation of God^s power, the 
proper place to illustrate that principle is a state in which 
new-created beings do receive the best possible constitutions 
and are placed in the most favorable circumstances. If out 
of such a system sin springs, and a kingdom of evil is 
formed, then there would naturally be formed a system of 
sovereignty like that in this world, composed of fallen 
beings, who had forfeited their original rights. 



The union of mind with matter is the great peculiarity 
and the great wonder of the present system ; and nothing is 
more important than to know why God established this 
union, and how he designed it to operate. Surely the 
influence on the mind of a material system so vast and 
powerful cannot be neutral. If rightly viewed and used, 
immense good must result ; if otherwise, immense evil. 
Such is the testimony of facts. Platonism and Gnosticism 
regarded matter as the cause of sin, and refused to ascribe 
it to the original free choice of the mind in a spiritual 
sphere. The mind, in itself, is pure and well-disposed, but 
is, unfortunately, linked to a degrading and corrupting 
material system. Notice now the results : false concep- 
tions of holiness and sin, a spurious religious experience, 
torpor of the moral sense, an entire perversion and subver- 
sion of the system of grace, the introduction and undue 
honor of celibacy, penances, bodily austerities and other 
ascetic practices, monasteries, nunneries, and a universal 
corruption and derangement of the whole social system. 

Thus the effect of these and similar systems has been to 
turn away the eye from the original entrance of evil in the 
spiritual sphere, and to throw off the blame and guilt of sin 


from sinners upon the material world, and thus to derange 
the entire operation of the system of God. 

On the other hand, the doctrine of a preexistent fall, not 
only, as I have shown, combines the great facts of the Bible 
relating to a spiritual world into a simple and sublime sys- 
tem of the universe, growing naturally out of clear and defi- 
nite principles, but it also so adjusts the relations of the 
material world to it as to remove all the pernicious results 
which have been introduced in past ages, by false views of 
the relations of the material to the moral system. 

It does this in a manner simple, thorough and effectual. 
It throws the primitive origin of all moral evil out of this 
world, into a spiritual system. It thus at once simplifies 
the problem, and accounts for the origin of all moral evil on 
the same spiritual principles. It exculpates matter, and 
throws the whole responsibility, where it ought to rest, upon 
minds. It not only excludes the possibility of ascribing the 
origin of sin to this material system, but enables us to show 
that it was designed and adapted to aid in the great work 
of moral renovation. It was made with the express design 
of illustrating, by powerful analogies, the character and 
system of God. If properly used, it is adapted to destroy 
the moral torpor of the mind by its pungent illustrations, 
and to give vividness and power to its conceptions of spiritual 
things. The intense and quickening energy of the language 
of the Bible is greatly owing to the divine skill with which 
this principle is employed. Light, darkness, heat, cold, 
summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, day and night, 
sickness, health, life, death, marriage, and all the incidents 
and affections of the family state, food and raiment, and all 
the lawful employments of life, are parts of a material sys- 
tem, planned with wisdom so divine, that, if intelligently 
used, they arouse and stimulate the torpid soul with a 


quickening and renovating energy. Of such materials our 
Saviour's parables are framed. From such sources he drew 
those short and pungent statements, which, once heard, are 
never forgotten, but ever after burn like fire in the soul. 
This material world, in all its beauties, in all its sublimity, 
in all its powers and terrors, symbolizes God, and both 
allures and warns God meanwhile suspends the full action 
of his emotions, which man could not endure, and beseeches 
him to become holy, to escape those spiritual terrors the 
emblems of which surround him on every side. Thus the 
whole system is one of mercy, patience and forbearance, on 
the part of God, and of wise and powerful adaptation to 
renovate the depraved mind of man. The Lord, in wisdom, 
founded the earth, and established the heavens ; and wisdom 
crieth aloud and uttereth her voice in the streets. 

Thus at a blow does this system cut off the very roots of 
Platonism, Gnosticism and Manicheism, and of the ascetic 
systems and social abuses which have arisen from these 
errors, and also the systems of sacramental regeneration 
and sanctification, on which the great religious despotisms 
of as!;es are based. 

On the other hand, the doctrine of the fall in Adam tends 
directly to introduce a system of virtual Gnosticism. For, 
if, as the church teaches, the soul is created by God, and the 
body alone descends from Adam, then it is natural to regard 
the body as the cause of sin. And this tendency has devel- 
oped itself in extensive results, in the Romish church, in 
the Lutheran and in the Calvinistic. 

I am aware that the system of divine efficiency, which 
teaches that God causes all men to sin by his direct energy, 
because Adam sinned, avoids this difficulty, — but it is only 
by a peculiar system as to the necessity of divine agency in 
all volition, which does not accord with the general and 


intuitive (Convictions of man. Moreover, this system fur- 
nishes no satisfactory explanation of the redemption of tho 
church, and her relations to the universe. For, if no man 
can choose except through divine efficiency, and if this effi- 
ciency is competent to produce whatever choice God pleases, 
then there is no need of any system of development in order 
to accumulate moral power such as has been described in 
explaining the relations of the redemption of the church to 
the universe ; nor is there any valid reason for the exist- 
ence of evil, or of redemption at all. 

I am also aware that the system of imputation endeavors 
to avoid Gnosticism, by ascribing sin to the necessary con- 
sequences of God's creating the soul without original right- 
eousness, and the withdrawal of supernatural influences from 
man as a punishment of the sin of Adam, leaving him to 
become necessarily corrupt and depraved. But this does 
not at all relieve the matter ; for it virtually destroys the 
guilt, and even the nature, of sin, by ascribing it to the 
mere fact that a new-created moral agent exists without a 
righteousness and a divine influence, the enjoyment of 
which does not at all depend on his own will. Even 
Augustine has virtually decided that there would be no 
criminality if sin were to originate from such a cause. 
Moehler also repudiates this theory, as implying that m 
a mere finite nature, as such, there is a necessary sinful- 
ness. He says, "The question before every other is, to 
account for the wounds of the spirit, especially for the per- 
versity of the will. Would the spirit of man, because it is 
an essence distinct from God, when considered in itself, — 
that is to say, as void of the gift of supernatural grace, and 
as a bare finite being, — be found in that attitude of opposi- 
tion to God in which man is now born ? Then man, merely 
as a finite being, would be of himself disposed to sin, and 


would not be so merely through the abuse of his freedom." 
He saw that if man, merely as a creature, is opposed to 
God, then God would be the author of sin. 

Hence the most natural and obvious theory of explaining 
the fall of Adam has been, in all ages, a reference to the 
influence of the material system on the soul ; and thus the 
doctrine of the fall in Adam tends strongly and directly to 
Gnosticism^ and all its pernicious results. 

Hence the extensive tendency to interpret the statements 
of Paul, John and others, concerning " the flesh," and " the 
body of sin," as referring to the material system, and not to 
the internal and original depravity of the spirit. The radi- 
cal erroneousness of this interpretation has been thoroughly 
exposed by Edwards, Miillerand Moehler; and yet the com- 
mon theory of the fall in Adam directly tends to originate 
and confirm this Gnostic mode of exposition. Moehler, on - 
the supposition that sin is transmitted through the body, 
asks, with great force, '' How could the infusion of such a 
corporeal poison convey to the soul the germs of all which, 
in the most comprehensive sense, constitutes self-seeking, — 
to wit, revolt against God, arrogance and envy towards our 
fellow-men, vanity and complacency in regard to ourselves ? 
If so disordered a spiritual condition, if so distempered a 
moral state, could be engendered by the connection of the 
soul with the body, it would be then certainly very difficult 
to uphold the notion of moral evil." 

On the other hand, the doctrine of preexistence teaches 
not only that the material system does not cause human 
depravity, but that it was created and arranged to aid in the 
work of sanctification and redemption. It explains, on this 
ground, its analogies to the spiritual system, and its typical 
significance ; also the principles of the formation of lan- 
guage, and the proper mode of so using the material system 


as to produce the highest sanctifying results. It can trans- 
form this whole world into a temple of God, and all the 
lawful acts and duties of life into a system of worship 
through types of higher spiritual things, and the family 
state into a little miniature of the universal system. 

Having thus constructed that high and copious reservoir 
from which the lower systems of thinking, feeling and action 
flow, let us look at the quality and the effects of the streams 
that flow from it. 

Or, to resume our ori<2;inal fio-ure, havino; disclosed the 
end and restored to harmonious action the moving powers 
of the system, and exhibited the relations of its parts, let 
us next look at its practical working in some of its details. 



The preceding discussion is an ample defence of the doc- 
trine of preexistence against the charge of being a mere 
theory, of no practical moment. It has evinced that this 
doctrine is not devoid of proof elevated, dignified and logical 
in its nature, and certain in its results. It has also shown 
that it can do what nothing else is able to effect ; it can 
rescue Christianity from its present perilous position with- 
out injury, and with great benefit to the depth and power 
of all its doctrines. By its present perilous position, I 
mean a position in which it has no real defence against the 
charge of imputing the highest conceivable injustice and 
dishonor to God. 

I have often wondered at what has appeared to me 
to be a strange temerity among good men on this sub- 
ject. One would think that the natural feeling of their 
hearts would be to shrink sensitively from even a possibility 
of imputing the least dishonor and injustice to God, and 
much more so from the fearful hazard of imputing them 
to him on the highest conceivable scale. One would think 
that, if any portion of scripture seemed to imply such dis- 
honor to God, a cautious and thorough investigation of the 
laws of interpretation would be first made, to see if another 
view of the passage were not possible. And yet this has 


not been the case. It has been conceded repeatedly that 
the acts ascribed to God, in his dealings with the human 
race through Adam, do appear dishonorable and unjust, 
according to any principles of equity and honor which God 
has made the mind of man to form. And yet, simply on 
the basis of Rom. 5 : 12 — 19, and without any adequate 
search for a more legitimate mode of interpretation, they 
have for ages gone on to ascribe these acts to God. When 
I think who God is, and what the redemption of the church 
is, and how inconceivable is the injury of basing this great 
work on an act of infinite dishonor and injustice, I cannot 
but feel that a more hazardous and tremendous risk was 
never run by intelligent Christian men. 
. Look, for a moment, at the facts of the case. Review the 
principles of honor and of right, as I have stated them in 
the first book. Weigh well the fulness and power of the 
concessions of the truth of these principles made by the 
church, from age to age. Think of the great fact that God 
has so made the human mind that it cannot but recognize 
their truth. Think of the profundity and power of the 
feelings which were made to respond to them. Think of 
the great fact that God made them to be, beyond compari- 
son, the ruling feelings of the soul, and that the principles 
to which they respond are at the very basis of his govern- 
ment, and then think, if you can, how much dishonor to 
God, and evil to man, is involved in placing the whole sys- 
tem of Christianity on a basis that, in the utmost conceiva- 
ble degree, does violence to all these feelings and principles. 
Notice, then, the full confession of the great body of the 
church, that the only defence against the charge of doing 
this has been the theory that all men had forfeited their 
rights as new-created beings, by " an act over lohicJi they 
had not the slightest control^ and in which they had no 


agency^ ' and which took place before they existed ; and 
also the confession of Calvin, that nothing is so remote 
from common sense as this defence ; and of Pascal, that 
nothing appears so revolting to our reason, and that it 
seems to be impossible and unjust; notice, also, that the 
great body of the church has decided, and that justly, that 
there is no defence of the acts ascribed to God in the plea 
of his rights as a sovereign, — and the fearful state of the 
case becomes too painfully apparent. And to this the facts 
of history, as I have set them forth, correspond. 

I do not hesitate, therefore, to say that the human mind 
cannot conceive of a more dangerous mode of representing 
the acts and defending the character of God than this ; and 
unless it can be shown that my interpretation of Rom. 5 : 
12 — 19 is erroneous, then still to retain it will, to say 
the least, be in the highest degree perilous to religion, 
and that in a case of the utmost conceivable moment. 
But I am well assured that the erroneousness of my inter- 
pretation cannot be shown. And, indeed, there is no reason 
to wish that it could be. Who ought to desire to continue 
such a mode of representing and defending God, if another 
and a better mode is possible, or even conceivable ? What 
can be worse than the representations that now exist in the 
church, and the pernicious influence of which, for centuries, 
I have endeavored at least in part to set forth ? 

And, now, is it nothing jjractical that preexistence can 
deliver the church at once from such a state of things ? Is 
it nothing practical that it places the redemption of the 
church on a basis in the highest degree honorable to God ? 
Is it nothing practical that it brings experimental, spiritual 
and supernatural Christianity, as set forth by Paul, Angus- 
tine and Edwards, into sympathy with the principles of 
equity and honor, those powerful and all-pervading ele- 


ments of humanity, from which it has been alienated, and 
the operation of which has so constantly tended to create a 
strong repulsion against it ? Is it nothing practical that 
the deep misunderstanding of the divine character which it 
has always produced should cease ? Is it nothing practical 
that the real God of the universe should be seen as he is, 
and not with his real feelings of long-suffering, compassion, 
sympathy and grief, misrepresented or denied, and his 
glories obscured by dark clouds of injustice, changing the 
whole universe into a system of sadness and gloom, if not 
of horror ? 

These are the questions at issue, as I have repeatedly 
shown ; and they are real questions, they are practical 
QUESTIONS, and not visionary speculations. A God who 
was seen and felt to avow and act on the principles of honor 
and right which I have laid down, and to manifest the feel- 
ings which I have set forth, would exert inconceivable 
moral power ; for the mind of man is made to be acted on 
by such feelings and principles, clearly apprehended in 
such a being as God, with inconceivable energy. There is 
no power like it, or to be compared with it. It can agitate 
the nations, and shake the globe. 

All this power Christianity now loses, and encounters an 
e-qual and all-pervading repulsion. This is the great, the 
main reason why the energy of Satan on earth is so im- 
mense. Here is the secret of his strength ; here is the 
hiding of his power. 

There is, therefore, a power of emotion in the human 
heart hitherto entirely undeveloped on the great scale by 
Christianity. As now presented, it can never develop it. 
Nay, more, as I have shown, it directly tends, as education 
and moral culture increase, to division and paralysis. 
Never — I say it confidently — never will Christianity bring 


out the whole power of human emotion in sanctified forms, 
till it is based upon preexistence. 

To what has been said I would now add that the scrip- 
tural exposition of the system of the universe, as centring 
in the union of God and the church, inasmuch as it implies 
and 13 based on the doctrine of preexistence, still further 
takes that doctrine out of the region of mere abstract 
speculation, and gives it a practical embodiment 


God. a measure which is the main subject of the inspired 
oracles of God from beginning to end ; for the sake of which 
the material system was organized, and to execute which 
the providence of God is administered. 

There is no way in which principles are so clearly and 
surely taught as by a practical embodiment in a working 
system. The laws and powers of steam, as well as the prin- 
ciples of mechanics, are practically, definitely and clearly 
embodied in a steam-engine. When the raging ocean- waves 
had swept away Winstanley in the lighthouse which he had 
constructed on the Eddystone rocks, it was plain that he 
had not embodied in it the principles of architectural 
strength which the case required. When Smeaton, after a 
second wreck and ruin had occurred, at last constructed a 
lighthouse which could defy every wind and wave, then, in 
that structure, he did practically reveal, in an embodied 
form, what were the laws of architectural strength in such 
a case. There is no kind of revelation clearer than this. 

In like manner, to illustrate great things by small, the 
whole of the present dispensation is a system of sublime 
measures, embodying principles and aiming at a glorious 
result. The result is an imperishable spiritual structure, 
including the universe, under God and the church as the head. 
The measures are the formation of the material system, the 


introduction of the human race into it, the incarnation of 
God, the atonement, the redemption of the church and her 
union to God, and the prostration of the empire of Satan. 
In all this there is no theory ; it is simplj the actual present 
working system of the universe. Such a course of things 
is not arbitrary ; it implies principles, it grows out of rea- 
sons ; and these principles and reasons are, therefore, 
embodied in the system. 

Is it not, then, plain, even to a demonstration, that what- 
ever is thus embodied is taught with a certainty, definiteness 
and power, that nothing can surpass ? 

Now, that the idea of preexistence is thus embodied in 
the system of the universe, I have undertaken to show ; and 
I think that I have shown it. I have considered the char- 
acter of God and the system of the universe, not as imagined 
in speculation, but as revealed in the inspired oracles. I 
have surveyed its parts, and their relations and combina- 
tions, and their great end as a whole. And I have asserted 
that the great idea of preexistent sin, as I have set it forth, 
is clearly and definitely embodied in the system as a whole. 

Now, with regard to this mode of reasoning, it will be 
conceded, I think, that it is, as I have said, in its nature 
elevated and dignified, and, if my doctrine is properly made 
out by it, sure and absolute in its results. 

To the power of this course of reasoning we are also to 
add the argument derived from the fact which I have 
proved, that nothing but the assumption of preexistence can 
vindicate the character of God, and prevent the great mov- 
ing powers of the system from so conflicting with each other 
as in a great measure to paralyze the energies of the church, 
and afflict her with innumerable evils. 

That such modes of reasoning, if legitimately used, must 
lead to sure and infallible results, no rational man will 


deny. The only course that remains is to show that my 
use of them has not been legitimate. 

It is wortb»7, therefore, of the more particular attention, 
that the argument against the doctrine of preexistence is not, 
like the argument' in its favor, based upon legitimate general 
principles, and the intellectual and moral necessities of the 
system. It cannot be shown that the doctrine of preexist- 
ence tends to any evil. It tends neither to subvert nor to 
weaken any fundamental doctrine of the gospel. Nay, 
rather, it gives strength to them all. It does not tend to di- 
vide or paralyze the church ; on the other hand, it tends to 
union and strength. The opposition, then, relies on no 
general views, except the allegations, which have been fully 
considered and refuted, that it cannot be proved, and that it 
does not avail to remove any difficulties. Besides these 
allegations, there is nothing except certain alleged positive 
statements of the word of God. Of these, I have thoroughly 
considered Rom. 5 : 12 — 19, the only one that is adapted 
to exert any great power. Besides this, a few incidental 
statements are appealed to, with reference to which a few 
words are all that is necessary. The assertion in 2 Cor. 5 : 
10 "that (at the judgment) everyone shall receive the 
things done in his body, according to that he hath done," 
is said to imply that there had been no previous sin, other- 
wise that also would be judged. 

But, if we sinned and came under a forfeiture in a 
previous state, there is no need of an additional judgment, 
as to that state. By the supposition, if that state had con- 
tinued, we were lost. All our hopes depended on a new 
life in this world. Of course, our acts here are +lie only 
proper oasis of a decisive judgement. 

To this it may be added, that even if there should be, in 
fact, a reference to our conduct in our previous sphere of 


action, it y^ould not conflict with this passage. For the 
very foundation of a new probation in this world is to oblit- 
erate the memory of a former state, and to speak only of 
this life. On this plan, it would be right to assert merely 
that we shall be judged for our deeds here, and to say no 
more ; neither affirming nor denying anything as to a pre- 
vious state. 

It is also asserted that God created Adam's spirit when 
it entered his body, on the authority of Gen. 2 : 7. But, 
even if it were so, and if Adam was made upright, and fell, 
it would not follow that the continuance of the race was not 
effected by means of spirits who had already fallen. But, 
to meet this latter idea, an appeal is made to Zech. 12 : 1, 
as proving that God creates the spirits of men as they enter 
the body. But the verse, of necessity, teaches no such 
thing. A very proper sense of the verse is that God is the 
Creator of the spirit of man that is in him, — which would 
be the truth, at whatever time God created that spirit. 
The stretching forth the heavens, and laying the founda- 
tions of the earth, which in that verse are ascribed to God, 
were in past time ; and, therefore, Dr. Noyes very properly 
translates the three verbs in past time, and thus makes the 
creation of spirits a past event, and not one which takes 
place daily. 

But, even in the case of Adam, the creation of his spirit 
is not asserted in the words "God breathed into his nos- 
trils the breath of life," but merely the gift of natural 
life, — that which unites spirit and body. If natural life 
ceases in man, his spirit does not cease to exist, but leaves 
his body ; and God can call it back again, and reunite it by 
natural life, as in the case of Lazarus. In such a case the 
language of Genesis may properly be used ; we may say 
God again breathed into him the breath of life ; but, cei- 


tainlj, he did not create his spirit. So as to Adam it is 
asserted that God gave bodily life, but not that he then 
created his spirit. The apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 15 : 44 — 
49, expressly applies the passage to the life of the body, and 
thus sanctions the view which I have taken. 

Appeal is also made to the statement that Adam was 
created in the image and likeness of God. I have already 
said that, if this were true of Adam, even in a moral sense, 
it would decide nothing as to his posterity, but would 
merely prove that the spirit of Adam was not fallen when 
it entered his body. But there is no proof that these words 
are to be taken in a moral sense with reference to Adam. 
This passage in Genesis has in Paul a divine expositor. 
In 1 Cor. 11 : 7, whilst setting forth the typical signifi- 
cance of God's creative acts, he asserts that man, as man, 
and as the head of the little microcosm, the family, is the 
image and glory of God ; and that woman, who represents 
the church, is the glory of man. We see, then, that God, 
in forming man, and woman, and the family, so did it 
as to represent symbolically himself, the church and the 
universe, as an infinite fiimily under one head, composed by 
the union of God and the church. 

It appears, also, from the context of the passage in Gen- 
esis, that man, as rational and intelligent, and ruling over 
this material system, is also regarded as in the image and 
likeness of God. This view is almost exclusively the one 
recognized by Augustine and the fathers. And. in this 
sense, men and women alike are spoken of as in the image 
of God now as much as Adam was. James accordingly says 
of men in every generation that they " are made after the 
similitude of God" (James 3 : 19). On this ground, also, 
the law against murder in all ages is made to rest. ' ' Whoso 
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed ; for 


in the image of God made he man." (Gen. 9:6.) Thia 
law is obviously based on a reason that exists in all men, 
in all ages. All are in the image of God. 

There is also another view in which man is recognized by 
Paul as the image of God in a typical sense, and it is 
one of great sublimity and interest. At the creation, Adam 
and Eve were exalted to be at the head of the universal 
new-created system. In this Paul saw a designed type of 
the exaltation of Christ and the church above all things, a3 
the great and final result of the present moral system of 
new-creation. Of this the proof is conclusive. His reason- 
ing from the assertion that God put all this natural world 
under the feet of man, Ps. 8 : 6, cannot be explained or 
defended on any other ground. The Psalmist there refers 
to the original creation. The ''all things" spoken of are 
" all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the 
fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever 
passeth through the paths of the sea ; " and these were sub- 
jected to man at the time of the creation. And yet Paul 
argues from it that all things, God only excepted, are to be 
subjected to Christ and to the church in him. On the 
principle of reasoning from type to antitype, this reasoning 
is sound, but on no other. (See Heb. 2 : 5 — 9. 1 Cor. 
15 : 27, 28. Eph. 1 : 22, 23.) I freely admit that man 
was made in the image of God to the full extent that is 
implied in all these divine testimonies. But no inspired 
expositor has ever said that the passage in Genesis has any 
reference to the moral image of God. The views which 
they have given of the passage are enough to exhaust its 
significance, and no man can prove that it was designed to 
mean anything else. 

If any should inquire whether I do not hold that all men 
were originally made in the image of God, I answer, yes, I 


hold it much more consistently and firmly than it is possi- 
ble to hold it on the common view. I hold, according to 
Ecc. 7: 29, that "God made man (that is, all men) up- 
right, and they have sought out many inventions." The 
preceding course of remark shows that the only design of 
the writer was to throw the guilt of that great and general 
corruption, of which he had been speaking, off from God, 
upon men. He therefore states of man, meaning all men, 
that God made them upright, but they have sought out 
many inventions. Here is merely a general fact stated, 
without any details of time or manner, and stated solely for 
the sake of defending God. 

The truth of this statement is much more apparent, on 
the supposition of preexistence, than on any other ; for, 
according to that, all were created upright, individually; 
but, according to the common doctrine, men are no^v v^reated, 
but not upright, and, therefore, they never have been up- 
right at any time or place. To say that God made all men 
upright in Adam, is merely trying to cover up the common 
view of the facts of the case with the fig-leaves of words ; 
for it is maintained that God creates spirits now, and that 
he does not make them upright. Of course, they never 
were made upright. Nor is it any better to say that souls 
are generated, and not created ; for. at all events, even so 
they are not generated upright, and never were upright. 

As to the statement that " God saw everything that he 
had made, and lo ! it was very good." it would have been 
perfectly appropriate in view of a system made to redeem 
fallen souls, such as I have set forth. Jhe word good does 
not mean holi/j for it includes the newly-organized world, 
and animals as well as man. And if it was a material sys- 
tem, made to remove existing evils, then, though sinful 
spirits were introduced into it, yet still it Avould be true, in 


the highest sense, that it was all very good, — that is, per- 
fectly adapted, as a system, for the ends for which it was 
made. And, in this respect, it was all the better for the 
existence of fallen souls in it ; for, on any other supposition, 
it could not gain its great end. 

But it is asserted that God's intercourse with Adam 
implies that he was at first holy, and afterwards fell into 
sin. But, in reply to this, it may be very properly alleged 
that even if sinful propensity was in Adam and Eve, yet, 
before a trial and test, they would naturally be unaware of 
it. But, as soon as they were tried, their real character 
was disclosed to their own apprehension, and fear and 
shame came over them. 

As to God's intercourse with Adam, all that we know is, 
that he brought the beasts to Adam, and that Adam named 
them, and that God made Eve out of his side. But it is 
a most significant fact that, on the first trial, both of them 
sinned. What proof, then, is there from facts that they were 
holy- before ? 

The truth concerning this whole portion of scripture is, 
that it has been looked at from a wrong point of vision. Its 
import is wholly typical. So is it everywhere regarded and 
treated in the Scriptures. The common mode of viewing it 
has introduced into it the elements of a theological theory, 
of human devising, which has entirely oveiiaid and obscured 
the true, simple and scriptural view, and is entirely out 
of place. Christ, and the church, and sin, and condemna- 
tion, and righteousness, and redemption, and the nature and 
results of the future system, are here set forth in types. 
Moreover, the act of Adam was typical, and not that of 
Eve. The sentence which followed the oifence was designed, 
as I have shown, to be typical, and to include all the lace. 
So was the exclusion from Paradise typical. That the act 


of Adam alone was typical is plain ; for on no other ground 
can we explain it that Paul takes no notice, in Rom. 5 
(though he does elsewhere), of the fact that the woman first 
sinned, and not Adam, and thus sin entered into the world 
by her. But as the woman was not the type of Christ, but 
Adam, as ruler and head of the race, so it was upon his sin, 
and not upon hers, that he regards the sentence of death as 
based. If we look upon these transactions as merely typi- 
cal, all is plain. If we look on them as causative, then 
they naturally lead to all the puzzling questions which 
Albert the Great and other scholastic divines have discussed 
through weary folio pages ; as, for example, what would have 
been the character of the cliildren, if Eve had sinned and 
not Adam, or Adam and not Eve, and what would have 
been the law of child-birth on various suppositions, &;c 
The simple truth, however, is, that God so ordered events 
as through Adam to set forth a type of the relations of the 
redeemed to Christ. 

The doctrine of preexistence has also been opposed on the 
ground that infants do not manifest as much intelligence as 
they ought, on that supposition. But this is a mere matter 
of opinion. No one can say that the nature and effect of 
the union of the mind with the body is not such that the 
highest created mind would be by it reduced to infancy such 
as we see. It would be the very object of such a system to 
deliver the mind from the influence of the memory and asso- 
ciations of a past existence. To effect a radical change of 
character, the proud spirit would be reduced to a state of 
weakness and dependence ; all things would be made to 
seem new, — new analogical knowledge would be communi- 
cated, new motives and hope would be made to open on the 

An effort has also been made to piove that the fallen 


angels and men are different orders of beings, and tliat all 
of the fallen angels were condemned without hope, as if this 
were fatal to the doctrine that the spirits of men had fallen 
in a previous state of existence. But tlis, if true, has no 
force, except on the assumption that between the original fall 
of Satan and his angels, who kept not their first estate, and 
the introduction of man into this world, there was no subse- 
quent extension of the kingdom of darkness. Certainly, 
those who hold that Satan and his angels have had power 
to plunge in ruin the millions of the human race, and who 
know that they have so much range as to come with the 
sons of God into His presence, as the book of Job teaches 
us, ought not to take the ground that these same angels 
have not been able in past ages to seduce other orders of 
beings from their allegiance to God. But on this point I 
have already said enough, in the eighth chapter of the third 

Occasionally, also, some one has been found to appeal to 
Rom. 9 : 11, where the apostle refers to God's decision 
concerning Jacob and Esau before they had been born, or 
done good or evil. But in this case the reference is so man- 
ifestly to action in this life, that, for the m.ast part, all intel- 
ligent opposer^ pass it by as nothing to the purpose ; and 
very properly, for the action referred to and denied is man- 
ifestly action subsequent to birth. 

On surveying this reasoning of opposers, it is striking 
how entirely devoid it is of great principles and sublime 
vieAYS. All these are against them. Their reasoning is 
merely an effort to shut up the mind, by disconnected and 
incidental scriptural statements, to a system which in it? 
main drift and general influence is, as I have shown, at wai 
with moral principle, dishonorable to God, and injurious U 


On the other hand, the view which I present is emhodied 
in the great central measures of the system, and is demanded 
by its revealed spirit and principles. No incidental passage 
has ever been produced against it, or can be, that does not 
admit of a legitimate interpretation in perfect coincidence 
with it ; and in such a case the main current of principle 
and of the system must decide the interpretation in my 

To this I would add that the whole spirit of the Bible is 
in sympathy with my views. It is a book the great idea of 
which is a supernatural creation, from the very depths of 
depravity and satanic power, by almighty sovereign grace. 
[t is not possible to conceive of new-created minds as com- 
ing, in the manner commonly supposed, into such a state as 
IS thus implied, without doing violence to the moral nature, 
and exciting compassion for them as wronged. But God 
nowhere regards the human race as unfortunate or wronged, 
but always as exceedingly guilty. And no man can prop- 
erly regard the dictates of his moral nature, and yet come 
up to the tone of the Bible on this point, except through the 
doctrine of preexistence. Nor will any man otherwise ever 
have a consistent view of the depth and power of human 
depravit}' in this world, nor of those abysses of wickedness 
which our Saviour calls the depths of Satan, and which he 
regards as so profound as not to be easily understood. 

As to the beneficial intellectual and moral tendencies of 
the views which I have advocated I think that there can be 
no doubt. Even the mere fact that they may be true will 
open, as I have already had cheering occasion to knew, to 
manj a tempest-tossed mind a haven of rest. As I have 
said in my introductory remarks, they will show that from 
the greatest difficulties there is always a possible relief 

They also tend poAverfully to diminish the rigor and 


acerbity of theological controversy on this subject, and to 
effect a change in the intellectual and moral temperament 
of the church. They rationally demand such a suspension 
of former judgments, on the points at issue, as shall at least 
so admit the possibility that the modern churches of Christ 
are expending their energies in a fruitless effort to work 
effectually with an ill-adjusted system, and that their pain- 
ful divisions and alienations on this subject have sprung 
from this fact, as shall lead to a new and candid reinvesti- 
gation of the whole subject. 

They evince, also, that the various parties to this contro- 
versy deserve from each other a higher degree of sympathy 
and respect, in view of the causes which have led to their 
supposed or real errors, than has been conceded. Under an 
ill-adjusted system, as I have shown, the best and most hon- 
orable impulses of a Christian's mind may lead to real and 
injurious errors. The impulses that have led the Old School 
divines to the adoption of the idea of a forfeiture in Adam 
are honorable impulses, although the result is by so many 
regarded, and, as I think, justly, dishonorable to God and 
injurious to man. So also the rejection of such a forfeiture, 
and of the doctrine of depravity with it, by the Unitarians, 
is the natural and logical result of the noblest principles and 
impulses of the human mind, as the system now is, though 
the result is in the highest degree calamitous and dangerous. 
So, too, the impulses of the various classes of divines who 
have tried to find a middle ground between these extremes 
are honorable, and worthy of our highest sympathy and 

If this should but be duly recognized as the ground of 
mutual respect and sympathy, and the certain assurance of 
former decisions be for a time suspended, it would be pos- 
sible to review the whole ground once more with the pros- 


pect of mutual benefit and progress in the truth. The 
character of this discussion in past ages has been, at least 
on the surface, too sternly unsympathizing. I say on the 
surface; for, after all, Augustine, and Pascal, and others 
like them, have had tender hearts, and have had many a 
struggle to suppress the impulses of their own honorable 
principles and emotions. And yet, under the control, as 
they supposed, of divine decisions, they overruled them, and 
sternly enforced their convictions. So acting, they could 
not afford to be tender, and to yield to their feelings. They 
must be unnaturally stern to maintain their ground at all. 
Accordingl3^, in the hour of battle who was more stern than 
Augustine ? And yet even he, when he opens his heart to 
Jerome, reveals the sympathies of a tender spirit, that 
sought in vain to find repose for his noblest feelings upon 
views which, after all, he felt constrained to adopt and 
defend. If those who discuss this question could but afford 
to look into each other's hearts, and see and respect the 
honorable feelings and impulses that exist there, it would 
soon be found that love and mutual sympathy can do what 
mere argument can never effect. 

At the same time, argument and profound discussion are 
necessary, in order to come to any intelligent and harmo- 
nious results. For depravity is a reality, as much as bodily 
disease ; and the mind cannot be happy till it is healed ; 
and yet the principles of honor and right are no less a 
reality, and the mind must suffer till they are recognized 
and honored in all their legitimate relations both to God 
und to man. 

But, preeminently, the great want of the age is the 
infusion of a new and powerful spirit of sympathy and love 
into the discussion of this great question. Nothing else can 
so enlarge and give dignity to the intellect. Nothing else 


can lead to that candor and patience and comprehension of 
views which are indispensable to the profitable discussion of 
so vast and momentous a theme. Nothing else can avert 
those premature, superficial and passionate committals, 
which fatally arrest all progress in true knowledge, and 
forever shut up the soul in a narrow circle of predetermined 
ideas, without enlargement and without progress. 

And does not the time call for such an increase of sym- 
pathy and love 1 Is there not an urgent necessity, unknown 
before, of a deeper and more powerful development of 
Christian experience 7 Can anything else resist the tenden- 
cies to Naturalism, Deism, Pantheism and Infidelity, which 
on all sides pervade the community 7 A superficial doctrine 
of depravity, and a feebly-developed Christian experience, 
can never meet the great crisis of the age which is coming 
on. The church needs to be strengthened with all might 
by the Spirit in the inner man, to be rooted and grounded 
in love, and to be able with all saints to comprehend the 
height and depth and length and breadth of the love of 
Christ, that passeth knowledge, and to be filled with all the 
fulness of God. But, without that deep and thorough puri- 
fication which results from deep conviction of sin, and self- 
loathing in the sight of a holy God, this is impossible. 
And now, with all humility, I would say that my deep 
mterest in the views Avhich I have presented arises from a 
profound conviction of their adaptation, and of their neces- 
sity to produce this result. On any other grounds, I 
should care for them but little, for this is the great interest 
of the age. But a careful observation of the experiences 
and the discussions of the present and of past ages has led 
me to my present convictions. 

I cannot but hope that God, in his providence, is prepar- 
ing the way for a more profound and universal conscious- 


Hess cf the deep depravity of man. Experience is proving, 
more and more, the superficiality of Pelagianism to disclose 
and to heal the deep depravity of the human soul. And I 
cannot but joyfully recognize the hand of God in the 
fact that the work on Regeneration, by E. H. Sears, of 
which I have before spoken, distinctly discards the Pelagian 
theory, and adopts a deeper and more radical view. Of 
Pelagianism he thus speaks: "May we suggest that it 
is a survey of human nature only upon the surface, without 
sounding its mystic and troubled deep 7 Hence those who 
adopt it so often recede from it, as the mysteries that lie 
within successively reveal themselves. Hence a church 
formed around this as one of its central principles will sel- 
dom retain that class of minds whose habits of thought are 
ascetic or introspective, or whose deep and surging sensibil- 
ities demand some potent voice to guide and to soothe them, 
some light to explain their dark and terrible on-goings. 
Its recruits come from the side of the world ; not frop' 
those who had before left it, and are passing on to deeper 
experiences." These deeper experiences he proceeds to 
delineate in a most affecting and impressive way. He utters 
an earnest and long-needed warning against the spurious 
religionism that springs from the intoxication of pride, in 
which "self-contemplation is the highest devotion, and 
self- worship the daily ritual." He givps a striking de- 
scription of conviction of sin, in the light of the divine law. 
" The eternal law shines down through our ^eing, and shows 
our desires and aims, in opposition to itb own sanctity. It 
is the hatefulness of the selfish will in the presence of the 
All-Pure. Doubtless, the revelation is at first humiliating 
and painful. In that hour of self-conviction, the burden of 
our most inherent corruption hangs heavy on our souls. 
Two ideas, for the time, take sole possession of our minds, 


and fill the whole scope of our vision. Our inmost self how 
alienated ! The divine nature how dazzling and dreadful 
in its holiness ! " ^ * * " He who before was complacent 
and satisfied with the shows of a seeming morality is 
startled and dismayed, as a light from out of himself is let 
down through the central places of his being, and reveals 
the secret corruption that lurks through all its winding 
recesses. How false has been his standard of right, how 
low have been his aims, and what impurities have tainted 
the springs of his conduct ! ' I thought myself alive with- 
out the law,' said the great apostle ; 'but when the com- 
mandment came, sin revived, and I died.' When the 
eternal law shone forth, the sin that was in me came full 
into the range of my consciousness, and instead of spiritual 
life I found there a mass of death." * * ''What we 
have now described is sometimes called ' conviction of sin.' 
^ut it is more than that. Sin pertains only to what is 
wrong in our volitions and actions. But now the sources 
of s^'n, lying deeper than all volition and action, are shown 
to us ; for the vain disguises of our self-love having with- 
ered away under the beams of the divine countenance, the 
diseased mass whose hidden motions had swayed our voli- 
tions and conduct is disclosed, and makes us cry, ' Who shall 
deliver us from this body of death 7 ' " (pp. 149, 150.) His 
description of the process of regeneration is no less heart- 
moving and affecting. I hail these developments of doctrine 
with deep and undissembled joy; and that joy is increased by 
the sincerity with which they are sanctioned by the Execu- 
tive Committee of the American Unitarian Association, as a 
clear and strong statement of the practical doctrines of 
Christianity, and of a profound religious experience. The 
author well says that if any of his reasonings "should not 
sound like the traditional utterances of denomination, they 


may yet be just as worthy of attention ; " a thought whicl 
all men would do well to ponder. 

Yet, I am not able to agree with the estimable author in 
his views of the origin of this depravity of nature that lies 
beneath the will, and which he does not regard as properly 
sinful. He ascribes it to tradition, by descent from preced- 
ing sinful generations. "It is an inherited, disordered 
nature impersonated in each individual." " Adam began the 
work of the degradation of the species ; the balance between 
good and evil began to dip the wrong way ; his successors 
kept adding to the weight. Sin became more facile with 
every generation, till the scale came heavily down. And 
this is THE FALL OF MAN." "With primitive man began 
the descending series, and it kept on till the time of Christ. 
Then the ascending series began, and it will keep on till it 
comes up to the level of that height where began the march 
of humanity." But how does this view agree with facts? 
Were not men as much, or even more, depraved before the 
flood, according to the Bible, than they have been at any time 
since ? Will not there be also a revolt immediately after 
the millenium 7 Are the children in a long line of holy fam- 
ilies in their own consciousness less depraved ? Was it so in. 
President Edwards, whose experience we have given ? Yet 
he came from a long line of holy ancestry. Moreover, when 
I see new-created souls coming under this law, and beginning 
an eternal existence in depraved society, as men sink deeper 
from generation to generation, I cannot recognize the jus- 
tice or honor of God ; I cannot admit that such souls have 
ever had a fair probation. I cannot but apply to this point 
the remarks of Dr. Watts concerning the law of generation, 
which I have quoted on p. 347. I admit that certain 
causes of depravity are transmitted by the material system. 
But the central elements of a sinful spirit^ pride, nelfish- 


ness, self-will, envy, and tlie like, do not, in fact, rise and 
sink in successive generations ; nor is it reasonable to think 
that it Is in the power of matter, or of any law of generation, 
to originate or to remove them. Whilst, therefore, I rejoice 
in the depth of experience indicated in the work of Mr. 
Sears, I cannot accord with his views of the origin of 
human depravity, and of its changing scale. Yet I im- 
measurably prefer his views to the superficial Pelagianism 
which he justly rejects. 

But to me nothing seems fully to meet the facts of his- 
tory and of the Bible, the conduct of God in so entirely 
blaming and condemning man, and the existence of " those 
masses of sin and misery," of which Dr. Dewey speaks, 
" that overwhelm us with wonder and awe," and of those 
" depths of Satan " to which our Saviour refers, but the view 
which I have advanced. To my mind, every view is super- 
ficial that cannot sound all of these depths, and analyze 
history as we find it to the very bottom ; and every view is 
at war with the principles of honor and right which under- 
takes to go to such depths without preexistence. 

The doctrine of the fall in Adam was designed to be the 
foundation and defence of a radical doctrine of depravity. 
Yet it is, and has been in all ages, the real, great and log- 
ical fountain-head of Pelagianism ; and, if we would seek 
security from these tendencies, and find a system which, in 
all its parts, tends to deep views of depravity, and a pro- 
found Christian experience, we must resort to the doctrine 

To evince the truth of these statements, let us, for a 
moment, suppose the system which I have delineated to be 
true, and that the whole Christian community have adopted 
it as thoroughly as they have heretofore the doctrine of 
the fall in Adam. Let us suppose that the reason, the 


imagination, the association of ideas, have come under its 
full power ; and, now, let us inquire to what results the 
system would naturally and necessarily tend. We can, in 
this way, form some judgment of the power of the indirect 
and collateral evidence which sustains its truth ; for a sys- 
tem of falsehood cannot tend to produce the effects of truth, 
nor a system of truth those of falsehood. 

In general, then, I assert that the natural and necessary 
effect of a full and firm belief of the system, as I have set it 
forth, is to give the deepest views of human depravity and of 
original sin, and to make regeneration, or moral renovation, 
philosophically the great practical end of both the spiritual 
and the material systems, and to concentrate their united 
influence, through the various powers of man, upon a pro- 
found development of this great change. 

I say that it makes regeneration the great practical end 
'philosophically. For, if it is believed that the mind has 
been so affected by sinful action, previous to birth, as to be 
born depraved, and full of sinful tendencies, and disjoined 
from God, its true life, — and, if it is believed that this 
material system is not the cause of sin, but has been so 
framed as by its analogies to illustrate regeneration and 
spiritual life, and to aid in producing them, — then there is 
nothing in the system to turn away the mind from the great 
practical end of Christianity. By the very supposition, the 
thing to be done is not to develop the good tendencies of a 
new-created mind in its normal state, but to eradicate the 
evil tendencies of a sinful mind in a fallen state, and to 
new-create it in holiness. And there is nothing which can 
logically supplant or supersede this work. 

Indeed, this tendency of the system is so obvious that it 
has never been denied. For this reason, no doubt, it is 
that the Princeton divines recognize Julius Miillcr as clearly 


on the right side of th -' great question at issue. So, also^ 
in the Bibliotheca .Sacra he is represented as holding 
firmly a thorou^' doctrine of original sin. Augustine, 
also, saw this rc6iilt very clearly ; and in one of his earlier 
works, — that on free-will, — when the first freedom of his 
mind had not been influenced by church authority, was 
favorably disposed towards this view, and left it optional to 
any one who would to adopt it. Hence, Cudworth repre- 
sents him ;ts having " a favor and kindness for it, insomuch 
that he :j sometimes staggering in this point, and thinks it 
to be c great secret whether men's souls existed before their 
ge:i''/'ations or no ; and, somewhere, concludes it to b* 
;id[. -iter of indifferency, wherein every one may have his 
liberty of opening either way without offence." 

To me it is highly probable that Augustine would have 
adopted the doctrine of preexistence, had it not been for the 
influence of certain decisions of the church on the sacra- 
mental system, which had sprung from her Gnostic and 
ascetic tendencies. Indeed, this is a fair inference from 
some of his statements ; for he found great difficulties, as we 
have seen, in Jerome's view of the constant creation of new 
souls from age to age, and no less in the theory of the gen- 
eration of souls ; and not unfrequently he said, especially in 
his book on the origin of the soul, that he could not tell 
which was the true view. Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons, 
and Alcuin of old, took the same ground ; and Doederlein 
asserts that Luther, and most other teachers eminent for 
wisdom, have coincided with them. This, it will be ob- 
served, is a virtual confession that, after all, the question 
is not settled that the common view of Rom. 5 : 12 — 19 :s 
correct ; for, if it is, the idea of preexistence is excluded, by 
a divine decision. How different would have been the 
course of events, had Augustine and other leading men, 


when the question was first thoroughly discussed, been lef» 
unembarrassed by the Gnostic and ascetic dogmas of the 
church, which had ah-eady dishonored marriage, exalted 
celibacy and monasticism, and laid the foundations of eccle- 
siastical despotism in the system of sacramental regenera- 
tion and sanctification ! The spirit of these corrupt systems 
is opposed to preexistence as I have developed it, since it 
is at war with Gnosticism, whilst they imply and are based 
upon the origin of sin through the material system, which is 
the fundamental principle of Gnosticism. Considering, there- 
fore, the powerful Gnostic spirit and tendencies of the age, 
^nd the power of church authority, it is not to be wondered 
at that Augustine did not succeed in rising above it so far 
as to adopt and develop the system of preexistence as I 
Lave set it forth, — a system which in its principles anc 
spirit would have been utterly at war with Gnosticism ic 
every form. 

Ow* thing, however, is clear, from this general view : tha? 
it has been seen and conceded, in every age, that the doc- 
trine of preexistent sin does tend to a deep and thorough 
view of depravity and regeneration, and is not to be con- 
demned on the ground of any Pelagian or other dangerous 
tendencies. The same, however, cannot be truly said of 
the common doctrine of the fall in Adam ; for, though it is 
meant to be the basis of a deep doctrine of depravity and 
regeneration, and is commonly supposed to be such, nev- 
ertheless it tends at once, and with great logical power, to 
Pelagianism. The reason of this is plain ; for it implies, of 
course, a denial of preexistence, and an assertion that man 
enters this world as a new-created being. But in this is, 
of necessity, contained an unanswerable logical argument 
for Pelagianism. For it has been conceded on all hands, 
and MOST strongly by the most orthodox, that the laws 


of honor and right demand of the Creator to confer on new- 
created beings natures in a normal and well-balanced state, 
tending to good, and needing only development in a natural 
direction. It follows, of course, since God is honorable and 
just, that he does confer on all new-born minds such na- 
tures ; and this is neither more nor less than Pelagianism. 
A more just, natural and logical conclusion was never 
drawn from any premises whatever. It is perfectly plain, 
therefore, that, in the common doctrine of the fall of Adam, 
there are the logical seeds of pure Pelagianism, ready to 
spring up at all times. This is the reason why it has 
always been so hard to exterminate this dangerous system. 
The church has always furnished the premises which led t? 
it, and has thus been obliged to meet it at a logical disad- 

I have show that all this is the result of a false decision, 
made nearly fifteen centuries ago, under the overruling 
influence of a church deeply sunk in the spirit and the 
errors of Gnosticism. Pious as Augustine was, he cmld 
not so far rise above the spirit of his age as to introduce a 
system the logical development of which would, as I have 
shown, have cut up Gnosticism by the roots. Hence, 
though he saw the power of preexistence to explain viiginai 
sin, and at first looked upon it with favor, he yielded co a 
corrupt ecclesiastical influence, and, by the aid of a false 
translation, and a false realistic philosophy, he introduced 
+hat false decision, concerning the great problem of the for- 
feiture of rights by the human race, which has been to 
ever) subsequent generation the fountain-head of errors 
&:id divisions. There is but one true solution of that prob- 
lem possible, and that is through preexistent sin. 

Since then, the general views which he introduced have 
been sustained against the protests of the principles of 


equity and honor, by the supposed testimony of God, in 
Rom. 5 : 12 — 19, although the uniform opinion of the 
church for nearly the four preceding centuries had been that 
the sentence referred to in that passage was merely natural 
death. I cannot but believe, however, that any one who will 
candidly consider what I have said on that point will see 
that there is no divine testimony to sustain the doctrine of a 
forfeiture in Adam, or of a fall in Adam in any way. But. 
if this supposed testimony falls away, then, unless we admit 
of preexistent sin, we come once more logically to the result 
that men, as new-created minds, are in their normal state, 
and need only culture and development ; and this is Pela- 
gianism, and scientifically ai^d logically at once cuts up the 
doctrine of regeneration hy Me roots. 

But, on the other hand, the view which I present makes 
regeneration the only logical or philosophical end of the 
system ; and the laws of honor and right, instead of turning 
man from it, impel him towards it with all their energy. 
For, if God has not injured man, but has conferred on him 
undeserved mercy through this system, then every principle 
of honor, as well as of interest, calls on him to yield to the 
divine influences, and to comply with the divine injunction 
to cast away all his transgressions, and to make to himself 
a new heart and a new spirit, lest he die forever. 

But this is not the whole strength of the case. For the 
view which I present not only unites the reason, and the 
dictates of equity and honor, in the great work of regenera- 
tion, but it also concentrates the united energies of both the 
spiritual and the material systems, through other powerful 
faculties of man, upon the great end of regeneration. Man 
has not only reason, by which he longs after and delights 
to behold a systematic unity of all things, — he not only can 
be influenced through his intellectual, logical and moral 


powers, — but he is powerfully affected through his imag- 
ination, and the association of ideas. The work of morai 
renovation can never be carried to its highest point, if these 
faculties are arrajed against it, or divided against each 
other. But, if we derive sin from Adam through natural 
generation, these powers are arrajed against the work of 
regeneration. Man finds himself at once bound in a ma- 
terial system, which he is obliged to regard as tending to 
corrupt the soul, — a system polluting and polluted. 

Let any one read the development of this subject by 
Turretin, or by Watts, or by Ridgeley, or by Willard, or by 
hundreds of others, and see if it is not so. Even if any try 
theoretically to disavow it, it comes practically to this issue. 
But, if sin comes through generation and the material sys- 
tem, then, as in the Romish church, marriage is dishonored, 
and the imagination and association of ideas defile and are 
defiled. But. if the origin of sin is thrown back into a spirit- 
ual state, — if this system is made to aid in regeneration, 
if all its analogies, properly understood and used, tend to it. 
— then is marriage honored, and the imagination and the 
association of ideas are purified at once, and unite their 
energies in the great work of moral renovation. 

Thus the views which I present alone avert all tenden- 
cies to Pelagianism, and make a supernatural regeneration 
the great and philosophical end of the system. They also 
provide the means of deep and thorough sanctification. 
Moreover, they present to the sanctified reason that com- 
plete unity of the spiritual and material worlds in one 
intelligible system which meets the highest intellectual and 
philosophical wants of the mind. They also give a true 
system of mental philosophy, based on an investigation of 
the normal state of the mind, the nature and laws of unper- 
verted free agency, the effects of sin on the faculties, and 


the changes needed to restore the mind to its true and 
original harmony and life in God. 

So, also, they fully develop the idea of God, so as to 
meet the wants of the mind thoroughly regenerated and 
purified; — holy and just, yet not an unfeeling and arbitrary 
God, but sympathetic, tender, gentle, patient, condescend- 
ing, as well as all- wise and all-mighty. 

The great end and final result of the system is also one 
which deeply interests the feelings and excites the imagina- 
tion. It is the redemption of the church, and her eternal 
union to God, in infinite love, for the highest and most 
benevolent ends. Viewed from this point of vision, what a 
history is that of the church ! What tragedies of suffering 
does it involve, but how glorious the final result ! It thus 
opens the way to pure and perfect emotion, in sympathy 
with God and the universe ; for it discloses the great centre 
of God's emotion, and brings the mind into sympathy with 
him and with his angels, with reference thereto. 

It discloses, also, the great centre of spiritual beauty, in 
the united loveliness of God and the church. Out of Zion, 
the perfection of beauty, God is seen to shine. It thus 
explains the analogies of this spiritual beauty, as seen in 
the highest beauty of man and woman, and in their union, 
and also in nature. It thus purifies, develops and elevates, 
the imagination. It also aids, as nothing else can, to sub- 
ordinate, control and sanctify, the appetites and the senses. 
It employs the association of ideas to link all things to the 
glorious and holy ends of the system. In marriage, and in 
the family, we are constantly reminded of the glorious 
consummation of all things at the close of this dispensation. 
The changes of day and night, the revolving seasons, the 
varied colors of the landscape, and of morning and evening, 
are linked by spiritual associations and analogies to the 


universal system. Thus this faculty imparts to all objects 
and events of this earthly scene a heavenly color and 

Thus this dispensation, truly viewed, gives rise to a sys- 
tem of education which so trains man- as to sanctify and 
unite all his powers, and in no respect to divide the mind 
against itself It unites faith and reason, and makes a 
supernatural development rational. It sanctifies the world 
and life in all their parts. 

It exposes, moreover, the delusive nature of those ideas 
of progress which are caused by the illusions of pride. It 
discloses the true end of this world as a moral hospital, and 
makes it apparent that humiliation, confession of sin, and 
purification and pardon, are the final results of the truest 
and highest progress. Life thus becomes sober, the world 
is valuable chiefly for its spiritual ends, and heaven is seen 
to be the true and only home. 

It explains God's mode of discipline and culture by 
trials varied and severe, and the reasons why He so highly 
values the faith and patience, and other graces of his peo- 
ple thus produced. It enables Christians to understand for 
what glorious ends God is training them, and for what pur- 
poses they will be called on to put forth their powers, as 
kings and priests to God forever. It thus furnishes the 
noblest end, the highest standard, and the most powerful 
motives for self-culture ; and makes life, from beginning to 
end, a constant system of education for eternity.